ESLARP establishes and nurtures mutually enhancing partnerships between community-based organizations in distressed urban areas, and students, staff, and faculty at the University of Illinois and on other campuses. Through these innovative partnerships, ESLARP promotes the revitalization of distressed areas as well as advances the University's research, teaching, and service missions.
Distressed urban areas continue to confront serious environmental, social, and economic challenges. Local government agencies in these areas are unable to deal with the particular challenges they face, and this task is increasingly being left to community-based organizations. As local residents, organization members often know how best to deal with these challenges but need technical and logistical assistance in planning and implementing their efforts. At the same time, students need richer learning opportunities than currently available to them. They must better understand the real-world relevance of the concepts and skills they are taught; they must gain a greater and deeper awareness of the diverse realities that people experience in the world.
ESLARP organizes technical and capacity-building assistance for community-based organizations by harnessing and leveraging the efforts of students, staff, and faculty. In the spirit of true partnership, community residents identify and prioritize tasks to be worked on, as well as the ends towards which campus efforts must be directed. Individuals from the campus learn from community residents, who have intimate and extensive knowledge of their community; in exchange for access to this knowledge, they work on projects that enhance and build community. ESLARP maintains and sustains this relationship regardless of the individuals, on campus and in the community, who might be involved at any given point.
Last updated on 7/22/2011