|Submission Date||May 3, 2014|
Santa Clara University
EN-9: Community Partnerships
Center for Sustainability
Does the institution have at least one formal sustainability partnership with the local community that meets the criteria as “supportive”?:
A brief description of the institution’s supportive sustainability partnership(s) with the local community:
Does the institution have at least one formal sustainability partnership with the local community that meets the criteria as “collaborative”?:
A brief description of the institution's collaborative sustainability partnership(s):
Does the institution have at least one formal sustainability partnership with the local community that meets the criteria as “transformative”?:
A brief description of the institution's transformative sustainability partnership(s) with the local community:
Advancing a More Just and Equitable Silicon Valley
Thriving Neighbors is facilitated by the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education, one of the University’s three Centers of Distinction. The Ignatian Center is charged with fostering the institution’s mission and core identity and providing leadership for the integration of faith, justice, and the intellectual life. The program's initial focus is on the five, predominantly Latino neighborhoods that make up Greater Washington--Alma, Gardner, Goodyear, Tamien, and Washington. These neighborhoods are all located south of downtown San Jose and east of Guadalupe Parkway.
Collectively, these communities have both extraordinary assets and real challenges.
Greater Washington is home to a driven and dedicated populace with a large immigrant population, strong community organizations, and seasoned community leaders. Conversely, it is also one of the most socioeconomically challenged regions of Santa Clara County, where families face significant barriers that impede their ability to live healthy and productive lives.
Greater Washington’s constituent neighborhoods cope on a daily basis with poverty, high unemployment, and crime, including gang violence, prostitution, and drug trade.
SCU understands that the most successful community programs are those that grow organically. As such, a new, more open, and more inclusive community dialogue is vital to the success of Thriving Neighbors. A mutually led conversation will guide how the initiative
leverages the University’s students, faculty, staff, and resources to work in collaboration with Greater Washington residents, businesses, community leaders, and organizations. Working together, this partnership will find innovative ways to build local capacity for entrepreneurship, expanded educational choice, healthy living, and more. The mutual learning opportunities presented by a partnership between SCU and Greater Washington will be essential to the success of Thriving Neighbors.
The SCU Thriving Neighbors Initiative will actively promote strategic ties between Santa Clara University and the Greater Washington Community of San Jose in order to advance prosperity and education of both SCU students and neighborhood students as whole persons in whole communities.
Thriving Neighbors will bring SCU schools, departments, and community programs together with neighborhood residents, leaders, businesses, schools, non-profit partners, and government to create mutually beneficial, interconnected and multidisciplinary solutions.
In the first phase of Thriving Neighbors’ development, it will host programs aimed at reducing barriers to higher education and improving neighborhood prosperity. Simultaneously, the program will explore with community leaders and other organizations ideas about how best to use Santa Clara University’s resources in conjunction with others toward collaboratively solving urgent local challenges together.
As Thriving Neighbors expands its programming it will encompass numerous offerings including:
Shared geography, experiences, values and objectives
Serving as a hub of engagement for students and their families, Thriving Neighbors will seek a brick-and-mortar presence in Greater Washington. Over time, this center will also become a gathering place for sharing community knowledge and discovering pathways to innovative social change. It will be a place where community leaders and residents join faculty, staff, and students to probe challenges from multiple perspectives and sectors, while forming collective, collaborative solutions.
Expanding educational choice
Designed to make college a reality for all, the first phase of Thriving Neighbors in Greater Washington is the launch of a fourth-and fifth-grade academic enrichment program. The program builds on Washington Elementary School’s educational themes, while integrating science, technology, literacy, and California Common Core Standards into an 8-week, project-based, afterschool program. For its first cohort, the academic enrichment program invited 45 top-performing students of Washington Elementary School to continue on their quest for knowledge through hands-on learning activities that expand the walls of the classroom.
The promise of Silicon Valley grows from its entrepreneurial spirit and creativity. To promote and support community entrepreneurship, the Leavey School of Business will consult with local businesses and implement workshops to build entrepreneurial skills. With time, the program aims to create more jobs, make businesses more sustainable, and improve the economic environment of the neighborhoods and communities targeted by Thriving Neighbors.
A healthy neighborhood
The health of local families and community members is inseparable from the health of their neighborhood. To support the general well-being of residents, SCU will explore collaborations in healthy living in the areas of food security, physical activity, and mental and physical health. We will work to improve access to healthy living resources through innovative partnerships and programs.
Opportunities for social justice education and SCU student involvement
Students at Santa Clara University learn more than just facts and figures. The Jesuit tradition emphasizes educating the whole person, and Thriving Neighbors will create opportunities for undergraduates to learn how they can be catalysts for positive change and social justice. Faculty and staff from the School of Education and Counseling Psychology, School of Engineering, Leavey School of Business, and Liberal Studies Department are already investigating new ways to involve their students.
In 1985, the University expanded its outreach efforts again through the Arrupe Weekly Engagement Program. Originally known as the Eastside Project, the Arrupe Weekly Engagement Program promotes a more humane, just, and sustainable world through deeper understanding of and commitment to the local community. This program offers SCU students a tangible means to experience a process that challenges stereotypes, deepens the educational experience, and enriches the emotional, spiritual, and intellectual life of both communities.
Today, more than 1,200 students each year engage in transformative educational opportunities through one of 50 partnering community organizations. Students are provided with hands-on, real-world experiences, while building relationships with their community. Classes then reflect on what it means to be a global citizen in the 21st Century and experience the struggles and triumphs of the human spirit.
Initiatives like the Arrupe Weekly Engagement Program illustrate Santa Clara University’s commitment to partnering with local communities — a value integral to the University’s strategic plan and goal of deeper engagement with Silicon Valley. Thriving Neighbors is a continuation of this history and strategy.
A brief description of the institution’s sustainability partnerships with distant (i.e. non-local) communities:
The website URL where information about sustainability partnerships is available: