Wichita State University

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FY 2018 Community Conversations Research

Executive Summary

Title: Shocker Neighborhood Coalition: 67214 Community Conversations and Action

On Nov. 14, 2014, the brutal rape, torture by fire, and death of Leticia Davis in Fairmount Park served as a turning point for Wichita State University (WSU). The tragedy occurred just a few blocks from campus in a neighborhood that is home to WSU students and an area that is a historic and vital partner in the success of the University. WSU President John Bardo publicly committed to working with residents of the adjacent campus neighborhoods and other community agencies to ensure residents, students, faculty and staff have a safe, healthy and productive environment to live, work and enjoy. The concept of the Shocker Neighborhood Coalition began in December 2014 with a commitment from WSU to provide support and resources to help facilitate a revitalization of the adjacent neighborhoods.

WSU made a strategic decision to first work primarily with residents of the Historic Fairmount Neighborhood since they appeared ready for action. Within the past 30 months, WSU worked with the Fairmount neighborhood and residents to design and implement a community survey to define community needs and develop a community action plan. The plan has led to crime reduction activities (crime rates reduced); access to university resources (programs, facilities, student applied learning projects and faculty and staff support); resource development support; park and walking path improvements; and a college experience camp for youth.

The success in the Fairmount Neighborhood has led to initiation of the next effort by WSU, the Shocker Neighborhood Coalition: 67214 Community Conversation and Action, which are several neighborhoods west of WSU. The purpose of the Shocker Neighborhood Coalition is to leverage talent and resources from WSU, external organizations and neighborhood residents to improve more neighborhoods surrounding WSU through a participatory research process leading to a community action plan.

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