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* “Communiversity” is a vision of the ways in which institutions of higher learning and the cities, towns, and counties that serve as their homes can and should work together to ensure the viability and vibrancy of their shared communities.

Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D
President of Rensselaer

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Communiversity and The Rensselaer Plan
Communiversity and The Rensselaer Plan
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Communiversity is good business and good education, a powerful partnership with far-reaching implications for our shared communities. Rensselaer’s commitment to responsible citizenship begins with its home community, and it has never been stronger.

Rensselaer’s commitment to collaborating with the communities in which we live, study, and work, is clearly articulated in our guiding document, The Rensselaer Plan.

Within the community surrounding Rensselaer’s main campus, The Rensselaer Plan aims to “redevelop community fabric contiguous to and along gateways to the campus by joining in carefully selected neighborhood renewal, housing, hospitality, and commercial projects with private developers and public agencies.”

To meet this goal — to fulfill the promise of communiversity — we are reaching out to the local community with neighborhood renewal initiatives that include promoting home purchase and ownership by Rensselaer faculty and staff, and renovation of vacant and deteriorating properties. Our students, faculty, and staff participate in a wide range of community outreach efforts, sharing their expertise and enthusiasm in urban planning workshops, volunteer tutoring programs, public service internships, and more. In fact, Rensselaer students are introduced to community service and the exploration of local history and culture from the moment they arrive on campus during first-year student orientation.

A key goal of the plan is to strengthen and expand our educational programs for working adults, a core enterprise that has broad economic impact for the Institute’s communities. Ever responsive to the needs of regional business and industry, Rensselaer at Hartford serves the educational needs of experienced professionals. In January 1997, the Hartford Graduate Center merged with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and became a branch campus known as Rensselaer at Hartford. Rensselaer also has been serving the educational needs of working professionals in southeastern Connecticut since 1977 at its Groton site.

In the state of Connecticut, Rensselaer at Hartford accounts for some 20 percent of master’s degrees awarded in business administration, engineering, and science.

Rensselaer’s Office of Government and Community Relations works to encourage, facilitate, and coordinate even greater faculty, staff, and student involvement in regional activities. The office also plays an important role in generating government funds for major research, infrastructure, and economic development projects in the Capital Region, and in advancing Rensselaer construction projects that promise significant community impact, such as the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center and the Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Research Center.

But Rensselaer’s connectedness to its home community is much larger than the efforts of any one office. Community involvement is part of the fabric of the university — in economic development and neighborhood renewal projects, in public service internships and educational programs, in shared technology expertise and cultural resources, and in community service and volunteerism. By contributing in so many ways to the physical, intellectual, and educational well-being of the surrounding region, Rensselaer acknowledges the countless benefits the university draws from its location. It is a symbiotic relationship — a busy two-way street, perhaps best symbolized by the collaborative efforts that recently restored the “Approach,” the historic stairway connecting the university with the City of Troy.

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