This October, higher education leaders will convene in Washington D.C. for the 28th CUMU Annual Conference: Resilient Campuses. Resilient Cities. On Tuesday, October 17, our local campus partners—University of the District of Columbia, Georgetown University, George Washington University, and American University—will host Community Experiences. These are exciting opportunities for conference attendees to visit the neighborhoods and community-led organizations with whom they partner to leverage the strengths of their campuses and cities in addressing the complex challenges facing us all.

“It takes many people and much support to create such a strong conference program and I’m grateful for the hard work of our local CUMU members who are generously supporting this year’s conference,” said Valerie Holton, executive director, CUMU.

“Thank you for welcoming us and helping to connect attendees with your community through these community experiences.”

Community Experiences

Community Experiences are offered on a limited basis and at a nominal cost of $25 to registered conference attendees. Pre-registration is required. This is the only conference programming during this time. Funds collected from Community Experiences tickets will be applied to donations made to the community partner organizations hosting the experience.

Already registered for the conference and would like to add on a Pre-Conference Workshop or Community Experience? CLICK HERE to log-in to your existing registration with your email address and confirmation number, then select “Modify Registration” and follow the prompts to add on additional sessions.

Anacostia High School and UDC:
Inspiring and Facilitating Future Climate Change Leaders

Hosted by the University of the District of Columbia

Anacostia High School is located in one of D.C.’s most economically disenfranchised neighborhoods. School leaders, University of the District of Columbia (UDC) and local, federal, and corporate partners are investing in the neighborhood’s abundant talent with the intention of inspiring and facilitating the careers of future climate change leaders.

Through three years of investments, Anacostia High School is home to green houses, hydroponics systems, urban gardens, outdoor classrooms, and rain water retention areas, which serve as a learning lab. The project, known as the Community-to-Career Partnership in the Developing America’s Workforce Nucleus (DAWN) initiative, is a major part of UDC’s strategic plan and is designed as a pilot for a replicable national model.

Participants will travel to Anacostia High School to discover the importance of investing in K-12 talent and community in Black, Brown, and economically disenfranchised neighborhoods. Participants will first tour and the Green (Climate Change) Learning Labs. They will then gather for a panel discussion that demonstrates the value of bringing together a diverse set of partners and explore the dynamics and outcomes of some of the community-university collaborations.

Georgetown’s Prisons and Justice Initiative:
Responding to Mass Incarceration with Education

Hosted by Georgetown University

The United States incarcerates more people per capita than any other country in history. An estimated 2 million people are sitting in America’s correctional facilities today, with another 4 million on probation and nearly 1 million on parole. This crisis of mass incarceration takes a devastating toll not just on people under correctional control, but on their families and communities as well.

At Georgetown University, the Prisons and Justice Initiative responds to this crisis by increasing opportunities for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people. PJI and our partners empower students and returning citizens through higher education, advocate for those wrongfully convicted, and engage the wider community in criminal justice reform.

Participants will visit the downtown D.C. offices and classrooms of the Georgetown University Prisons and Justice Initiative, which offers liberal arts education in prisons, professional training for returning citizens, and advocacy of wrongfully convicted people. Participants will have small group conversations with staff and program alumni to better understand Georgetown’s work to create opportunities for people affected by mass incarceration in D.C. and nationwide.

Life Pieces to Masterpieces:
A Story of Transformative Partnership and Action

Hosted by George Washington University

George Washington University, along with many other universities in the District of Columbia, have been in long and powerful partnership with Life Pieces to Masterpieces, a small nonprofit that uses artistic expression to develop character and leadership, unlock potential, and prepare African American boys and young men to transform their lives and communities. They serve young men and boys ages 3–25 in Wards 7 and 8 by providing academic support, leadership development, and cultural enrichment programs at no cost to the young men and their families.

Participants will visit Life Pieces to Masterpieces, where they will talk with Co-founder and Executive Director Sister Mary Brown, staff, community partners, and GW students and faculty who have worked alongside Life Pieces.

Participants will learn about the aspirations and practice of transformative partnerships among people and between universities and community organizations and discover the commitment and work of supporting young people and families through their lifespan and the devastation brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Representatives will discuss the work that has been ongoing to deepen the partnerships between GW and Life Pieces and the interconnections of the organizations.

We’re All In: Martha’s Table Charters New Path as a Community-Led Organization

Hosted by American University

Martha’s Table stands firmly alongside Washingtonians day-in and day-out on both sides of the Anacostia River by operating nationally accredited education programs, pairing healthy food access with physical and mental health services, and promoting family success by investing in family leaders.

As a community-led organization, they rely on the guidance of neighbors to help deliver on their mission to support strong children, strong families, and strong communities in the District of Columbia.

Participants will visit Martha’s Table and see their healthy food and basic needs distribution in action, tour their community garden, and learn more about how their early childhood education sites and other programs are supported by universities and nonprofits including American University‘s School of Education and the Center for Community Engagement and Service. Participants will also learn how these programs and future initiatives have been shaped by a community-informed strategic plan.