To address the growing amount of poverty among local citizens, the City of Bryan, Bush School of Government and Public Service, and Texas A&M University will host a poverty reduction initiative. The event will be held February 10 and 11, 2011, at 1700 Groesbeck, Bryan.
Like many cities in the nation, Bryan has seen a growing amount of poverty among its citizens. In 2010, the city held a two-day workshop developed by Ronnie Jackson, Bryan’s coordinator of neighborhood and youth services, and Jeannie McGuire, head of Project Unity—a local nonprofit dedicated to helping vulnerable citizens—to look at the reasons poverty was on the increase, and the impact it was having on city agencies and local nonprofits. Later in the year, Bryan Mayor Jason Bienski, spoke on the issue at the National League of Cities Conference in which he described local initiatives to help build financial security.
Bryan’s poverty reduction initiative has now been expanded to include a number of scholars from the Bush School and Texas A&M University who will bring their academic expertise and experience to a program focused on poverty reduction. The initiative is co-sponsored by the Bryan City Manager’s Office, the Bush School of Government and Public Service, the Office of the Vice President and Associate Provost for Diversity; the Texas A&M Department of Sociology and the Race and Ethnic Studies Institute; and the School of Rural Public Health.
Working with the City of Bryan, Dr. Edwina Dorch, a professor at the Bush School, who specializes in how government at various levels affects child and family poverty, helped to organize the upcoming meeting.
“Bringing local leaders and academic experts together is a demonstration of the ‘scholarship of community engagement’ philosophy, a relatively new perspective in academia,” Dr. Dorch said. “It not only acknowledges—but actually rewards—tenure-track faculty for engaging in public service to the same degree as research or teaching,” she added.
Dr. John Powell, Director of the Kirwin Institute at Ohio State University with be the keynote speaker. His presentation will focus on the Community Opportunity Model which seeks to bring opportunities into distressed neighborhoods by improving education, stimulating investment and expanding employment opportunities, improving housing mobility options and providing public transportation.
In addition to Dr. Powell, scholars from the Bush School and other departments at Texas A&M will take part in the meeting, including the Department of Sociology, the Race and Ethnic Studies Institute, the School of Rural Public Health, and the Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development.