Project Description

This session includes multiple presentations. Timestamps are indicated in parentheses so you can forward to the presentation you want to view.

It Takes a Village: Building a Community Ambassador Framework for Community Residents (00:00)

Presented by The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

The Ambassador Program, Unidos (United) RGV (Rio Grande Valley), marshals the collective power of residents from low-income communities in the Rio Grande Valley and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), to support equitable development and increased engagement for residents in the most impoverished areas in the region. Unidos RGV is a partnership between La Union del Pueblo Entero (LUPE) and UTRGV, which focuses on elevating the voice of its community residents to university leadership to ensure that they are active participants in the university planning processes, and effective partners in the future plans of the university. Unidos RGV created a series of strategies to improve the UTRGV community engagement plan. The collaboration initiated the development and offering of a Community Engagement Ambassador (CEA) cohort program to community residents. CEA has helped address issues that community members, parents, and students encounter when dealing with higher education as they try to understand the college access and transition process. The ambassador program put in place a series of informational workshops, trainings, and resources for the participants to learn about the university, its programs, and resources. In return, graduates of the program were tasked to lead their own workshops and projects within their communities and offer them to other parents in need of understanding the college access and transition process.

Get the Word Out (23:46)

Presented by University of Nebraska at Omaha

Since 2012, the UNO Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders has collaborated with Omaha Public Schools’ Blackburn Alternative Program, with the support of the UNO Service Learning Academy, to identify important community issues and design impactful projects focused on advocacy efforts that support student growth and learning.

As a collaborative P-16 project, university students partner with students who attend the local alternative high school program. Both university and high school students are actively engaged in all facets of design, including the planning, development, and implementation of project activities. Consistently, student engagement has supported the demonstration of academic proficiency for each of the stated project outcomes.

Project activities are designed to highlight authentic opportunities for the successful use of language and communication skills in diverse environments. The project title, “Get the Word Out,” is intended to summarize this goal of advocacy. Especially during this time of social unrest, in the midst of a pandemic, we are interested in discussing how best to engage in advocacy efforts in a diverse community, with varying levels of access to resources.

Key take-aways:

  • How to retain a high level of student engagement in socially distant environment.
  • How to best engage in advocacy efforts with community partners during remote learning.
  • How to sustain focus on communication and relationship-building