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

The geography of community: Understanding the role of a regional comprehensive university as an anchor institution in Los Angeles (00:00)

Presented by Zuhey Espinoza, California State University, Los Angeles

This qualitative study explored one Los Angeles regional comprehensive university’s role as an anchor institution in its physical context. Departing from the well-researched perspective of universities and their administrators, it investigated the perspective of community members with an Organizational Place-Building Theory lens. The research sought to find how the university serves as an anchor institution in the personal lives and neighborhoods of the participants given the specific social and economic conditions of Los Angeles. Ten alumni from the university who continue to reside in the surrounding neighborhoods shared their relationship to the university as a space participated in an artifact-based mapping interview and education journey mapping. This data was supplemented by document analysis, and analyzed to identify areas in which the university’s plans in the community were or were not perceived by participants.

Participants indicated the ways in which lived experiences drove their decisions to attend a nearby regional comprehensive university, and how the place shapes their interactions with the world. Interviews also included reflection on the school’s relationship to the Latinx student body, neighborhood poverty, and neighborhood physicality, ultimately indicating that they perceive the university’s efforts to be contributive, yet identified areas for improvement. Implications and recommendations based on findings share directions for future research and university-community partnership.

Related link

The St. Louis Anchor Action Network: Using data tools for equity and inclusion (24:53)

Presented by Karl Guenther, Prima Wagan, Stefani Weeden-Smith, and Todd Swanstrom, University of Missouri–St. Louis

St. Louis has long-standing patterns of racial and economic segregation rooted in systemic racism. The St. Louis Anchor Action Network (STLAAN) aims to increase employment, income and wealth through intentional action by major anchors in the St. Louis region. STLAAN includes eleven institutions, including major institutions of higher education and health care in the St. Louis region along with the St. Louis Zoo and Edward Jones. STLAAN has identified a focus geography covering all census tracts in St. Louis City and County with poverty rates over 20 percent that are majority African American. In this geography, 24.1% of the population live below the poverty line compared with 11.3% of the region. The footprint is 70% Black, and includes 50% of the region’s unemployed Black residents.

A network, not a new organization, STLAAN connect jobs and business contracts especially to Black and Brown residents and businesses owned by people of color in the footprint. To support the work of member institutions, the University of Missouri – St. Louis and network partners developed a data tool to help institutions identify, maximize, and facilitate relationships with local businesses. Such a tool helps institutions develop more appropriate forms of intervention to fill existing capacity gaps and, therefore, address existing barriers (both perceived and real) to working with local MWBEs. Our conversation will focus on this searchable data tool as a resource for relationship building and developing systems of accountability in promoting supplier diversity/inclusion.