Since my last blog post, there have been some exciting developments regarding partnerships at TU! President Kim Schatzel announced the Baltimore-Towson University (BTU) framework. BTU is a priority that is aimed at elevating the work that we’re already doing with our partners to better address the needs of Greater Baltimore.

BTU is focused on five primary impact areas:

  • High-quality and equitable education
  • Strong neighborhoods and sustainable communities
  • Thriving and competitive economy
  • Lifelong health and well-being
  • Vibrant arts and cultural community

Since my first posts in this series were about partnerships that are addressing education across Maryland, today we’re going to take a look at the strong neighborhoods and sustainable communities impact area. Below are a few examples of the work we are doing with our partners in this cluster area:

1524 Hollins Street: An Oral History

This partnership aims to document the efforts to preserve the H.L. Mencken House in the years after his death. This includes documenting the efforts of neighbors and community activists, including two notable community groups: the Friends of the Mencken House and the Society for the Preservation of H.L. Mencken’s Legacy. Recordings, transcripts, photos and other materials associated with this partnership will be given to the H.L. Mencken Collection at the Enoch Pratt Free Library. As part of this special collection, it will be made available to scholars in perpetuity and may be cited in future creative works.

Revitalizing and Maintaining Public Community Spaces in East Baltimore

Students enrolled in a service-learning course in the TU Political Science department aid in the work of The 6th Branch, a military veteran-led organization that adopts neglected public spaces in East Baltimore, such as a park, and works to improve these public spaces through volunteer-supported cleanup operations and community engagement. An example of one of their successful initiatives has been the creation of a large urban farm to distribute fresh fruits and vegetables to the residents of the Oliver neighborhood.

university-community partnerships

The 6th Branch community gardens in the Oliver neighborhood of Baltimore

Understanding Educational Injustice

TU students have deficit perspectives of urban students and communities. TU students work with both the Family League and New Lens through a Metropolitan Perspectives service-learning course to understand issues of educational injustice, particularly in Baltimore City. The students are exposed to different points of view that help to disrupt their assumptions of city residents.