Civic Engagement Fund: Recent Grant Projects

The Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement is advancing a bold vision to enhance a civic culture at Washington University. The Civic Engagement Fund is a critical tool that supports members of the WashU campus who seek to strengthen the social fabric of our communities. In the 2016-2017 academic year, the fund awarded 41 grants and more than $55,000 to faculty, students, and staff who developed coursework and initiatives that catalyze civic engagement and community partnership in St. Louis and beyond.

Read about the November 2017 Civic Engagement Fund grant recipients below.

ST. LOUIS PROJECTS

Present: Anne Glowinski, MD, MPE (Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine)

The Washington University Division of Child Psychiatry, under the leadership of Anne L. Glowinski, the Division’s Associate Director, is collaborating with Adrienne Outlaw, an artist with significant experience in community engagement, to partner with the St. Louis City Family Court’s Summer Program on a unique art project designed to promote emotional well-being in at-risk children and their Deputy Juvenile Officers (DJOs). Dr. Glowinski leads a large medical student interest group eager for community outreach. Together they will make thousands of unique, pattern-based drawings on commercial grade C-fold paper towels, which will be exhibited and distributed at select locations throughout the city via specially marked dispensers. At the conclusion of the summer program, a towel dispenser and select wall-hung drawings will be exhibited at the Farrell Teaching Center in the medical school.

Enright Community Butterfly Garden: Micah Stanek, M. Arch, BS (Lecturer, Landscape Architecture, Sam Fox School for Design and Visual Arts)

The Enright Community Butterfly Garden is a socially engaged landscape project and pilot research initiative. Neighbors in the 4500 block of Enright Avenue generated ideas and selected the butterfly garden as the new program for a vacant lot on their block. In order to maximize exposure to a diversity of butterflies, a native oak savanna will be grafted onsite. The project is an opportunity to test urban restoration ecology through land stewardship by neighbors and to develop landscape research that is environmentally and socially engaged. The project positions the vacant lot as more than developmentally deficient and resource depleting. If injected with ecological richness, and if the community members begin to relate to and care for a vacant lot, a new kind of community-run public space can emerge.

The Kinloch Doc and Kinloch 70th Anniversary Incorporation Festival: Alana Flowers, MSW, BA (George Brown School of Social Work)

Alana Flowers, an aspiring filmmaker, visually documents and tells the story Missouri’s First Black City, Kinloch, Missouri, with the production of The Kinloch Doc and the coordination of the 70th Anniversary Incorporation Festival. Both the film and the festival will serve as opportunities to not only help rebuild Kinloch’s community with the leadership of born and bred “Kinlochians,” but to share ideas to help resolve the perpetual issues that have plagued the city for decades.

SMALL CHANGE GRANTS

Catalyst for Change: Gabriela Szteinberg, PhD (Project Coordinator, General Chemistry Supplemental Program)

The Catalysts for Change program aims to expose female high school students to different STEM fields and career paths. This project addresses the common stereotype that women are not suited as for a scientific career as men. The program seeks to educate on stereotype threat and encourage students to take high school courses in physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics. Major barriers that women trying to enter these fields confront are low confidence in their abilities and lack of female STEM role models. Through this program and mentoring system, the high school girls receive the opportunity to learn from successful women in STEM fields and gain knowledge about how to succeed. These girls will be exposed to a research university and students who attend such institutions. The college students involved will gain self-confidence and leadership skills by working together to plan two consecutive Saturday workshops focusing on STEM fields for the 9th graders and by teaching activities to the 9th-grade girls. This project provides more campus-wide awareness about the issues women face in STEM fields and allows more undergraduate students to become involved with the greater St. Louis community.

Global Brigades Honduras Service Trip—Medical/Dental Brigade: Matthew Heiken, 2019 (College of Engineering and Applied Sciences)

Students on the Medical/Dental Brigade spend a week in Honduras assisting at a mobile health clinic. Through this clinic, medical and other licensed health care professionals provide quality care in rural communities that, for a variety of socioeconomic, geographic, and political reasons, do not have access to routine medical care or public health education programs. Student volunteers facilitate the organization of the clinics, triage patients, and manage the ophthalmology stations, while shadowing healthcare professionals. Global Brigades has successfully built a rapport with these communities over time, thus allowing the organization to maintain effective and ongoing partnerships and to continuously train local Community Health Workers. The brigade has the potential to positively impact the people in the communities being served as well as the participants of the trip.

Bamboo Installation at Christ the King School: Jiaheng Kuang, 2019 (Sam Fox School for Design and Visual Arts)

The Architecture Engagement Collaborative (Arch Engage) connects students with faculty, practicing professionals, and local community members to collaborate on pro-bono design-build projects for communities throughout the St. Louis area. For the first project, WashU students are collaborating with eighth grade students at Christ the King School to design and implement a bamboo structure inspired by ancient civilizations.

COMMON GROUND GRANTS

Healing Critical Justice Issues through Interfaith Intergroup Dialogue: Purvi Patel, MA (Assistant Director of the Center for Diversity & Inclusion)

This program will utilize intergroup dialogue frameworks to create a sustained immersion experience focused on Healing Critical Issues through Interfaith Engagement. A cohort of students will be selected from diverse religious and spiritual backgrounds. The students will participate in a pre-immersion curriculum that is designed to build rapport while exploring similarities and differences. The cohort will then engage in a local immersion experience during spring break with local faith communities. Their engagement experiences with community leaders will focus on how communities of faith have activated and helped communities heal in response to critical issues and incidents in the St. Louis area. Notably the students will engage with faith communities that responded to Ferguson and the killing of Michael Brown, the vandalism of a local Jewish cemetery, and the protests related to the Stockley verdict. The students will contribute to a service project during the immersion week that will be identified upon consultation with the local faith leaders. The students will also co-create a culminating multimedia project responding to questions of how communities can work to heal divides through interfaith engagement.