UP260 Fall 2006
The course introduces students to the social, political, economic and cultural forces shaping communities today. Emphasis is on the role of race, class, and gender relations in urban social issues and the processes through which successful community intervention occurs at the local level: community organizing, participatory planning, advocacy planning, and community development. Students explore the dynamics of community building and social change by focusing on the interplay between communities, leaders, institutions, and change processes through team projects, individual assignments and community service activities in the surrounding community.
For the fall of 2006, students participated in a variety of community development projects in partnership with different community organizations in East St. Louis, Illinois. As part of the course students are required to attend at least one ESLARP outreach weekend.
Community Development Projects
Every student participated in a team project that involved working with an organization or businesses in East St. Louis. The projects varied considerably—they included creating a fundraising video, creating outreach and educational brochures, soliciting donations, creating a neighborhood shopping guide, interviewing activists, and organizing a career day for teens on the UIUC campus. Each student applied for a community development project based on their interests and skills.
Below find brief descriptions of the projects and links to the final products.
East St. Louis Community Buying Guide - Students identified small, high quality businesses in the East St. Louis area and collected information on them in order to create a several different guides to East St. Louis: Where to Have Fun, Where to Eat, and Where to Shop. These guides are a great way for East St. Louis community members and visitors to know where to go to support local businesses. Group members designed the brochure and it will be published and made available at visible locations in the area.
YouthBuild-UIUC Campus Exchange - The Emerson Park Development Corporation (EPDC) operates a youth build and charter school program that works to help “at risk” youth obtain their high school diploma and train them in construction/carpentry skills. While some of the students are academically strong they have not, to any great extent, been exposed to the idea of pursuing a college degree or visited a college campus and experienced campus. EPDC asked us to plan a one-day event in this fall for approximately 25 students and some EPDC staff. This student group planned and executed a full day of activities including visits to academic departments, tours of campus town, learning about student organization and participating in campus activities/events, and created a welcome packet for the YouthBuild students. Previous to the UIUC tour, this group spent a Friday in East St. Louis at the charter school to get to know the students and experience a typical day at the Youth Build program.
Opal's House: Donations to the Shelter - Opal's House is a woman's shelter in East St. Louis. They are always in need of fundraising and other types of donations such as children’s clothing and diapers. This student group raised money from the UI wrestling team and sororities as well as draft fundraising letters for in-kind and cash donations. The students also contacted businesses, organizations, and churches in the Urbana-Champaign area in an effort to procure donations locally that could then be delivered to the shelter.
American Bottoms Conservancy (ABC) Brochures - Wetlands and Pollution - Two student groups worked with ABC to create brochures on some of the environmental problems that currently plague the East St. Louis area: Toxic Tour and Protecting Wetlands, and Air and Water Pollution. The students were taken on a tour of the few remaining wetlands and environmentally hazardous sites, to collect photographs and histories, and compiled them into these brochures that can e distributed to community members and used to further ABC's efforts to clean up the East St. Louis area.
Sanders Development Center Video - Sanders Development Center is a center for foster children and adult former-foster children that have special educational needs. Sanders Development Center has a proposal to house a number of young ladies to prepare them for independent living. Most of the residents of Sanders Development Center are over 18 years of age, and Ms. Sanders is very concerned about what will happen to these former foster children once they are out of the foster care system. Unfortunately, the Sanders house is bad need of repairs and funds to carry out those repairs. This student group created a fantastic video about the Development Center and Ms. Sanders for the Extreme Makeover competition, and can be used for future fundraising and outreach efforts as well.
East St. Louis Park District: Park Signs Proposal - This project involved working with the East St. Louis Park District Director to develop signs for area parks. Many of the parks in East St. Louis did not have signs with important information such as the name, hours, and rules of the park. The students visited some of the parks to determined appropriate placement, size, and lettering. These student groups researched “home-made” signage in other communities (for example welcome signs), created material lists within a $200 budget, developed two different proposals, group 1 and group 2, and presented them to the Park District. With the help of ESLARP, the students hope the signs get completed and constructed in the near future.
Oral History of Rush City Residents and Activists - Students involved in this project discovered what individual people are doing to create positive change in their neighborhoods. Students interviewed, recorded, and transcribed the interviews, as well as took photo documentation of the neighborhood, group 1, group 2, group 3. The oral history will be a valuable community resource for local residents and UIUC students who want to learn more about East St. Louis, social capital and community change.
Last updated on 7/22/2011