Community Relations

Community Initiatives

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St Petersburg Innovation District

Our campus is in the heart of the St. Petersburg Innovation District  (SPID) and is an anchor institution. Established in 2016 to foster cross-sector innovative collaboration through proximity, SPID has over 30-member organizations within the Life Science, Marine Science, Education, Data Analytics, Art and Technology sectors.

Pinellas Higher Education Access Programs

USF St. Petersburg campus continues working closely with St. Petersburg College through our seamless transfer programs in FUSE -- – a partnership where students earn an associate’s degree at St. Petersburg College campus while getting many of the perks of being at USF's St. Petersburg or Tampa campus, and when it’s time for your bachelor degree, FUSE guarantees you’ll be admitted to USF.  Meanwhile Pinellas Access to Higher Education (PATHe), providing access to Pinellas County students to affordable world class educational experiences in their own backyard.  We are moving into discussions about building on our legacy of cooperation to create new opportunities such as co-location of programs on our campus for students who wish to reside on USF’s St Petersburg campus while enrolled at SPC.  


USF St. Petersburg campus partners with companies, governments, nonprofits, universities and other organizations to address complex challenges on a local and global scale. Learn more on the Office of Sustainability webpage


 Youth Civic Fellows Program

The Civic Fellows Program is a partnership between USF St Petersburg and the YMCA Youth In Government Program. This is an innovative academic year-long program that brings college-level education to high school students served by the YMCA. Selected Civic Fellows earn 6 credits at USF St Pete (in Political Science and Leadership Studies). This statewide program is the first and only of its kind in the nation and sets the national model for civics education.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Award Banquet

Every year students throughout Pinellas County are honored for their commitment and dedication to community service, volunteerism, social justice and civil rights, as well as perseverance in overcoming challenges.

Art Programs

USF St Petersburg campus develops projects related to artistic expression, public art and creative place making on the USF St. Petersburg campus. Through our art programming, we collaborate with partners both on campus (faculty, staff and students) and in the community including artists and arts, city and other neighboring organizations. Take a virtual tour of our permanent public art collection on campus. Meanwhile, Poynter Gallery within the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library exhibits work that introduces the campus community to a wide range of contemporary art. Additionally, the Graphic Arts Program has a newly renovated Gallery Space that will be open for student and public art exhibits.

College of Arts and Sciences

Family Study Center is the home of both basic and applied research studies concerned with understanding, supporting, and advocating for families with young children. Since its inception, the Family Study Center has been a base for innovative new projects and initiatives to support co-parenting and young children’s development. The Midtown Early Care and Education project supports high quality early care and education in pilot centers that serve children ages 6 weeks to 6 years and represent the community’s most under resourced families. Baby Talk provides training for families, childcare providers, and all agencies and field professionals serving higher-risk children. Early Childhood Court focuses on improving how the dependency courts, child welfare agency and local community work together to expedite services for young children.

La Florida: The Interactive Digital Archive of the Americas is a unique collaborative initiative, combining innovative historical research with cutting-edge technology. The site offers users a multidisciplinary perspective of colonial Florida’s rich history, a history that extends far beyond what we think of as ‘Florida’ today.

Neighborhood News Bureau is a working newsroom, staffed by our Journalism undergraduate and graduate students, located at the Enoch Davis Center, in south St. Petersburg, FL.  It functions as a community connection for collecting and disseminating information and news. It produces stories, features and announcements for use by local and regional news media and community organizations.

Initiative on Coastal Adaptation and Resilience (iCAR) uses research and education to provide the understanding and ideas needed to make critical decisions regarding our changing and vulnerable coast. The stakeholders to facilitate adoption of policies and practices focused on coastal adaptation and a transdisciplinary initiative that includes the sciences, engineering, policy and social sciences and is designed to examine the interactions between climate change, water systems, land use, the built environment, and ecosystem functions.

Geospatial Analytics Lab (G-SAL) is a full-service lab and serves as a resource center for the university community as well as larger communities through its research, teaching and service related activities. G-SAL also provides support for professionals and community projects. The lab offers training workshops in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing.

Friends of Salt Creek was founded by USF St. Pete Professor of English Tom Hallock in July 2019 to protect and advocate for an undervalued waterway with the mission to: Celebrate the natural and human qualities of Salt Creek, which runs from Bayboro Harbor (off Tampa Bay) to Lake Maggiore and beyond, through the heart of St. Petersburg, Florida. We monitor and protect this resource, advocate, and follow the stream as a model of unity and engagement, representing the full diversity of communities through which it flows.

Memory and Alzheimer’s Research. Jennifer O’Brien, an associate professor of psychology on the St. Petersburg campus has for years been part of multi-university research and lab exploring the use of technology to reduce memory loss. She is part of a team that won a $44.4 million NIH grant that will study whether computerized brain training exercises can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in older adults. This is an expansion of the USF Preventing Alzheimer’s with Cognitive Training (PACT) study, which Dr. O’Brion has been leading on our campus and which seeks participants from the Tampa Bay Region to participate in the study.

College of Education

Call Me MiSTER (an acronym for Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models) is based on the USF St. Petersburg campus that partners with Pinellas County Public Schools and is designed to provide academic and financial support to males of color interested in becoming public elementary school teachers in the City of St Petersburg in order to increase the pool of available licensed teachers from a broader, more diverse background.

Virtual STEM Robotics Summer Camps allow 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade students to collaborate, communicate, think critically while problem-solving on a virtual platform.

STEM Boot Camps teach current Pinellas County teachers how to integrate VEX Robotics, coding, and virtual and augmented reality into their classrooms.

Kate Tiedemann School of Business and Finance

Bishop Center for Ethical Leadership serves the community through events, fee-based professional development programs, and by producing, curating, and conveying relevant research in areas related to ethical leadership. It runs Leadership Connect where community leaders mentor hand-selected students to improve their professional confidence.  Bishop Center’s Women and Leadership Initiative promotes gender equity in the workplace. The initiative’s includes mentorship for female MBA students, professional development for women in Tampa Bay and thought leadership events and research. The Hospitality Leadership Program, also run by the Bishop Center, is designed to help industry leaders in the Tampa Bay area hire and retain top talent amid a staffing shortage. Finally, the Business for Good internship is an innovative program that brings USF students and local businesses together in a business consultancy model with the goal of helping businesses achieve B Corp Certification.

Customer Experience Lab is a state-of-the-art facility that provides community partners with the resources to: conduct live focus groups for consumer research; obtain insights from faculty and students; conduct sales training in recording-enabled role play rooms with perception analytic Dials providing real-time feedback on video and digital products. Focus groups are moderated by an experienced facilitator and community partners have access to highly qualified faculty for data interpretation and action plan development.

College of Behavioral and Social Sciences / Criminology Department

USF Trafficking in Persons - Risk to Resilience Lab

The Trafficking in Persons Risk to Resilience Lab launched in the Fall of 2021 on the St. Petersburg campus. Criminology professor Dr. Joan Reid is the 5th ranked researcher in human trafficking in the nation, and the lab is intended to be a statewide hub for research and resources related to this topic, an important step toward their ultimate goal of transforming Tampa Bay into a region that’s resilient to human trafficking. The TIP lab has dozens of community partners that represent all those different groups and who are working with us to develop a system so they can provide access to care.”

College of Marine Science

The College of Marine Science is passionate about engaging community to inspire students of all ages, educators, and scientists with an understanding of, and responsibility for, science-based ocean stewardship. Its education programs target three main audiences: Pre-College Students (K-12), Graduate Students, and K-12 Teachers and include signature programs like the Oceanography Camp for Girls and a newer Guardians of the Gulf, a collaboration with the St. Pete Innovation District and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast that leverages technology to provide children with web-based educational experiences, such as news-style broadcasts from researchers in the field, gamified learning and real-time sensors including underwater cameras and drones.

Nelson Poynter Memorial Library

The  Digital Commons @ University of South Florida hosts the digital archives for both the Florida Humanities Council and The Weekly Challenger newspaper, which has documented the history of St. Petersburg, Florida's African American community since 1967.