The Wire @ WPI Online
VOLUME 13, NO. 3     June 2001

Community project center continues WPI/Worcester partnership

In April, WPI administrators, faculty and students joined city officials and representatives of numerous local organizations and agencies in the Campus Center for the inauguration of the new Worcester Community Project Center (WCPC). The evening’s theme, "Threads Through the Community: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow," acknowledged a partnership whose products have been woven through the city’s rich tapestry over the course of WPI’s 135-year history.

The evening marked the official opening of the new center. Six Interactive Qualifying Projects have already been completed under WCPC auspices. Last summer, four students worked with Worcester Mayor Raymond V. Mariano on a bootstrap project titled "How Does Worcester Work?" in which they examined case studies that focused on the rehabilitation of Union Station and the need for a new vocational high school. Leonard D. Albano, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, served as project advisor. James S. Demetry, professor emeritus of electrical and computer engineering, was the advisor of record for the five WCPC inaugural IQPs completed in December (see below).

The new center brings to 20 the number of project sites and centers available to WPI students through the Global Perspective Program. The WCPC enables students who cannot leave campus for personal, job or financial reasons to complete challenging projects with the same concentrated focus and external sponsorship that characterize global projects. "The WCPC will be the bridge from our community to the Worcester community," says President Parrish. "The establishment of this center reinforces our long tradition of commitment to our home city."

Lance Schachterle, assistant provost for academic affairs, is director of the WCPC, whose offices are located within the Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division. John Anderson, a former Worcester mayor and a former member of the Worcester City Council, has been appointed project coordinator. He is responsible for developing relationships between WPI and the Worcester community and for developing and conduct-ing projects that constitute degree requirements at WPI and will meet the needs of sponsoring agencies.

"The objectives of the WCPC are to provide world-class project experiences in Worcester, where WPI students and faculty can be of significant help to local agencies," says Schachterle. "This center is the only community outreach in the region that allows students to conduct research projects of benefit to the community as a graduation requirement."

"The City of Worcester’s Strategic Planning Committee, of which I was a member," says Anderson, "defined the city’s goal as being the ’most livable medium-size city in the Northeast.’ One of the marks of livability is a spirit of working together and cooperation. The WCPC moves us in this direction in a significant way."

The WCPC is funded by a $1 million leadership grant from the Stoddard Charitable Trust and a $500,000 grant from the Fletcher Foundation, with additional support from the Warren A. Ellsworth Foundation ($250,000) and the Mildred H. McEvoy Foundation ($60,000).

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Last modified: Jul 05, 2001, 17:32 EDT