Through BTU—Partnerships at Work for Greater Baltimore, Towson University faculty, staff, and students have access to funding resources aimed to align, scale, sustain, and institutionalize community engagement partnerships and efforts.

Emerging Investment Projects Updates

Emerging investment funds are allocated for a one-year period and focus on supporting new and emerging TU community partnerships and projects.

Sweaty Eyeballs Animation Festival (2019–20)

TU Lead: Dr. Phil Davis, Art + Design, Art History, Art Education
Partner: Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway Theatre—Maryland Film Festival

Hundreds of students and lovers of animation descended on Baltimore for a weekend full of animation screenings, workshops, and events for the inaugural Sweaty Eyeballs Animation Festival, which took place at the SNF Parkway Theatre, October 4-6, 2019. The festival was the culmination of a successful partnership between Towson University professor Phil Davis and the Maryland Film Festival and was generously supported by a BTU Emerging Investment.

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Priority Investment Projects

Priority investment funds are allocated as investments over a 1–3 year period, focused on scaling, sustaining, aligning, and institutionalizing leading TU community engagement partnerships and projects. Funding is dependent on achieving benchmarks of success.

Towson University Inside-Out Prison Exchange

Supporting Returning Citizens (2019–20)

TU Lead: Dr. Elyshia Aseltine, Sociology, Anthropology & Criminal Justice
Partner(s): Baltimore County Detention Center, Goucher Prison Education Partnership, Harford County Detention Center, Jessup Correctional Institution, University of Baltimore Second Chance Program, Volunteers of America

After the success of the Inside-Out emerging investment project in 2018–19, Dr. Aseltine has expanded this important work to create a comprehensive strategy to support access to higher education for formerly incarcerated individuals. In November 2019, Aseltine was named a 2019 OSI Community Fellow by the Open Society Institute-Baltimore. Over the next 18 months, Aseltine will establish Fair Chance Higher Education as a center that supports criminal justice system-impacted people in their pursuit of higher education.

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YAAAS (Youth Artists and Allies Taking Action in Society) (2019–20)

TU lead: Dr. Kate Collins, Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts Infusion
Partner(s): Baltimore City Community College Refugee Youth Project, Patterson High School

Building off of the success of a BTU award winning program and emerging investment support in 2018–19, Dr. Collins is expanding the YAAAS program’s curriculum and offerings. YAAAS has employed a model where TU grad students (mostly working teachers) and refugee students work side by side as collaborators in an evening arts enrichment program during the fall semesters.

Upcoming event: Going Beyond the Single Story

On Saturday, December 7, Towson University will host a late morning art opening to celebrate the work of a unique partnership between Towson graduate students enrolled in the M.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts Infusion and refugee high school students who attend Patterson High School in Baltimore. The exhibit is called You Are Who I Love: The Art of Gratitude with Refugee Youth. With the hopes of shedding light on a dynamic group of young people who are too often limited to the single story of “refugee,” our culminating artwork embraces both image and text to offer visitors a more nuanced and complex view of young refugees living in Baltimore by sharing the stories, self-reflections, and expressions of gratitude of this dynamic group of collaborators.

GIVE: Grantwriting in Valued Environments (2018–19)

TU Lead: Zosha Stuckey, English
Friends of Patapsco Valley State Park, North Korean Refugees in the United States, Safe Alternative Foundation for Education, Tubman House

Grantwriting in Valued Environments (GIVE) is a BTU supported project that advances TU students’ professional writing goals by connecting their coursework to the writing needs of small non-profit organizations (NPOs) in the Baltimore/Washington region.

Recent accomplishments

  • Greg Lewis, a TU student in the master’s in professional writing program, recently wrote and submitted a successful grant for $50,000 from Maryland Heritage Trust to fund the purchase of a mobile interpretive van for Spanish speaking users of Patapsco Valley State Park as well as for youth education.
  • In October 2019, two students and one recent alum presented alongside Dr. Zosha Stuckey on TU’s G.I.V.E. Project at the 2019 Community Writing Conference in Philly this past October. We began our workshop by explaining what we do: G.I.V.E. advances students’ professional writing goals by connecting coursework to the writing needs of small non-profits who advocate for under-resourced communities in Baltimore. Greg Lewis, a masters student in professional writing, and Denelle Joynes and Sharon Akuokah from the English Department then shared their experiences writing for grassroots non profit organizations in Baltimore City. We framed the entire discussion around how our guiding principles—equity, reciprocity, reflection, self-actualization, commitment—keep us focused on becoming better human beings while also trying to make the world a more equitable place.