Hill House Starts New Year with New Students

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Written by: Leah Ashwill

The fall semester at WKU is steadily underway on the hill, as students settle in to their classes and residences. One such group of students at WKU’s Hill House, an ALIVE Center community development program, have begun the new semester charting out their plans for utilizing their graduate coursework to address local issues. Students in this graduate program live at 741 East 11th Street and combine their areas of study to address issues together and alongside community partners.

The benefits of this experiential living and learning environment are the reciprocal opportunities to teach and learn in a community setting. Such opportunities exist not only for the current individuals and organizations that make up the 11th Street neighborhood, but also for the incoming students who will also benefit from a democratic, community-building experience in growing their own community. Ideally, this is something that all parties will continue as a lifelong practice in the many communities in which they exist. It’s a domino effect.

Upon arrival to campus and their new home on the corner of 11th and High Streets, Hill House students attended a Community Organizing workshop hosted by WKU’s Institute for Citizenship & Social Responsibility, as well as participated in a team-building retreat to Foster Falls, Tennessee. During their initial time together, students have moved in and began getting to know each other through both structured activities and down time in their new residence. Planning meetings for the residents are also underway, as they plot their courses of action in working with neighbors to develop specific projects.

Neighborhood individuals and organizations are connected through an online “Neighborhood Network” developed by last year’s Hill House students. Students will administer this email exchange as one method of communicating with the public. Students will also continue to have one-to-one exchanges with neighbors and interested parties, as they work towards common goals.
Sunday Dinners will continue this semester, as students will host a weekly potluck gathering for the sole purpose of bringing people together to share a meal. It’s opportunities like this that much of the exchange of ideas and neighborhood networking occurs.

Stop by and get to know the students. Find out how you can get plugged in, if this particular neighborhood development effort is of interest to you, or just come see and hear what the Hill House students are doing. As the semester unfolds and projects are underway, visit cehouse.blogspot.com to find out more. Welcome Hill House students of 2010-11!

Hilda Owusu
B.A. Psychology and Sociology, University of Ghana
Seeking Masters of Public Health at WKU

Christy Serafini
B.S. Social Work, Western Kentucky University
Seeking Masters in Social Work at WKU

Phuong Vu
B.A. Business English, Foreign Trade University, Hanoi, Vietnam
Seeking M.A. Communications at WKU

Mo Zhang
B.A. Management, Beijing Normal University/Zhuhai
Seeking M.A. Communications at WKU

For more information on Hill House graduate assistantship opportunities, call 270-782-0812.

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