May X – Community Engagement Through Participatory Planning

May X – Community Engagement Through Participatory Planning


– I decided to become a
sustainability science major because I really love people, and I love the environment. And so, it’s a little bit
of an idealistic major, but I want to see the world
become a better place. And part of it is the environmental side, but then there’s also the social side. And so I’m more focused
on the social side, and yet how do we make
people lives better, and how do we make the
world a better place just for everyone. (slow inspiring music) We’re working with a
neighborhood in Greenville, it’s called the New
Washington Heights community. They have a 27 acre plot of
land in their neighborhood where a school used to be. The school was around when
segregation was happening. It had a strong like lasting
memory for the people who went there. Part of the project we
wanted to have commemoration for that, for the school, and make sure the place
stays rooted in history while being improved for the future. We’re starting the envisioning process, and so what do the
people want to see there, and so we’re going around to
all of the community members and we’re asking them their input, and what they want to see in this space. This is kind of like the beginning phases for creating a plan, for what
will become in that space. – The Furman students brought in hope, and engagement, and youth, and spirit. The Furman students came over, and intereacted with
everybody in the neighborhood. They gave a fresh new insight, and made you imagine the possibilities. – So once we collected all of the data, went through and reviewed
it and synthesized it, and created themes of
what people wanted to see, and then we represented those themes, and it was called the Visioning Workshop. We went back and then refinalized, and created a presentation
that we ended up giving to all of the community members. – You know I can sit down
and lecture to my students about all the benefits and challenges of participatory decision making, it’s another for them to go experience it. I’m pretty convinced that if I would give a 30 minute lecture on a topic, in five years maybe one of
the students in the class will actually remember what I said. But if this group of eight students that were in the class in May, actually experienced it themselves, I think that lesson will
last a little longer. – It’s been very valuable
to get into the real world, and start to test the things
that I’m learning in class with what works, what doesn’t work, how to actually make change. It’s been really interesting and rewarding to work through that process. (slow inspiring music)

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