News Release: Student Life, Sustainability, University News

Feb. 18,  2010

Fellows Focus on Sustainable Change

Former participants in the Emory Community Building and Social Change Fellowship Program talk about their experiences.

You can't change the world in a day, but 10 Emory students hope to gain the skills and knowledge to produce long-term solutions for some of society's most persistent challenges through a yearlong fellowship at Emory.

The eighth class of undergraduates for the competitive Emory Community Building and Social Change Fellowship, a national model for engaged learning programs, includes nine undergraduates and for the first time, a Bobby Jones Scholar from Scotland's St. Andrews University, Emory's sister school.

A successful centerpiece of Emory's Office of University-Community Partnerships (OUCP), the fellowship provides students with a comprehensive year of training, research and experience culminating in an intensive summer-long practicum working on community initiatives in metro Atlanta. The program, which is led by OUCP director Michael Rich, also helps Emory continue to foster long-term, dedicated initiatives with various Atlanta neighborhoods and community groups.

"Going to school at Emory, you find many students are doing productive work in the Atlanta community, but the fellowship takes it to another level," says Sacha Munro, a junior political science major. "I'm really excited about getting out into the city, and working with stakeholders, learning about the multiple perspectives around an issue and figuring out the best solutions for it."

The fellows will be working in neighborhoods and with community agencies this summer on three projects, including a crime and safety program with Refugee Family Services; sustainable urban gardening with Atlanta and Decatur public schools; and early learning programs with the United Way.

"The 2010 Community Building and Social Change Fellows are proving themselves to be energetic, passionate and up for the challenges of the program. We are poised to make significant changes in three of Atlanta's neighborhoods with this excellent team of students," says fellowship director Kate Grace of OUCP.

Results of past fellows' work include the completion of 28 projects that have produced policy change, new programs and entities, and funding for projects. Fellows also have expanded the capacity of existing community initiatives to effectively address issues such as HIV/AIDS, affordable housing, public education quality, urban sprawl, citizen engagement and more.

The fellows are chosen by an advisory committee of 11 faculty members from nine departments and programs. Students selected for the competitive program receive a stipend of $3,500 for their summer community work, a summer housing allowance, 12 hours of academic credit and a summer tuition scholarship.

Community Building Fellows 2010 The 2010 Community Building and Social Change Fellows

2010 Emory Community Building and Social Change Fellows:

  • Rachel Abraham, junior, psychology
  • Elizabeth Carter, junior, American Studies and economics major

  • Courtney Coleman, postgraduate, Bobby Jones Scholar
· Michael Dale, junior, sociology
  • Ayanthi Gunawardana, junior, political science and religion

  • Caitlin Keesee, junior, sociology

  • Sacha Munro, junior, political science

  • Jennifer Sarpong, senior, interdisciplinary studies/socioeconomics
  • Helen Cheung, senior, chemistry and philosophy
  • Anand Saha, junior, neuroscience and behavioral biology

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