FYI: The Power of Place
Kristin Bonnie,

Student commitment: minimal
Developmental stage: medium
Community partner(s): Community Action

We completed a 3-day unit, just prior to fall break, in which the following took place:

1) Students read  a)Skogan - Disorder and Decline; b)Skogan - Fear of Crime and Neighborhood Change;  c) Brown et al. - Place attachment in a revitalizing neighborhood

We held a discussion about neighborhoods in decline in general, including the reasons why neighborhoods might fall into decline, and why people don't/can't leave. John attended, but the discussion was mostly led by the FYI leader (Kristin Bonnie)

2) Students read a) On Oprah, Charity and Saving Our Troubled Neighborhoods; People or Place: Revisiting the Who versus the Where of Urban Development; a Merrill Neighborhood profile.
John Ramstad led this discussion, and brought the broader discussion into the context of Beloit and the Merrill neighborhood

3) Led by John, we took a field trip to the Merrill neighborhood. We first visited two of the homes Community Action had been working to renovate, and then John arranged for us to meet with several neighborhood residents and local church leaders. The residents talked about their personal history within the neighborhoods (most had lived there for many years) and their perspectives on the changes they've seen. Students had the opportunities to ask questions of the residents, and were invited to stay for lunch (although none did).

In response to this unit, all students wrote a reflection paper on the readings and their experiences.