Class projects showcase civic and community engagement

12.05.17

End of the semester projects address local issues affecting the community such as climate change, income disparity, domestic violence and Texas gerrymandering.

On Nov. 28, Dr. Francine Romero's Foundations for Civic Engagement class presented "Climate Change on Trial, the Case for a San Antonio Heat Island Policy."  Students introduced two policies: cool roofing and the expansion of San Antonio's current tree ordinances. Mr. Douglas Melnick, City of San Antonio's Chief Sustainability Officer, served as the witness for the prosecution, and Ms. Cara Tackett, Senior Vice President of Pape-Dawson Engineers, Inc. served as the witness for the defense in the mock trial.  The class also invited members of the community to act as jurors to weigh the risks and benefits and decide which policy should take effect.  Their project was the featured in Gilbert Garcia's column for the San Antonio-Express News.

Click here to read the full story by Gilbert Garcia.

From Nov. 28 -29, three Master of Social Work classes presented forums and panel discussions to engage the community on pressing issues.  On Nov. 28, The Communities and Practice class presented a forum called "Unmasked: Beyond the Chair" to educate beauty professionals on how to spot signs of domestic abuse when dealing with their clients. The forum calls for not just stylists, but the community to become aware of resources to help victims of abuse.  This project received extensive coverage on KENS-5 and Spectrum News.

Click here to see the video on KENS-5.
Click here to see the video on Spectrum News.

On Nov. 28, Adjunct Professor Rev. Peter Bauer, LCSW and his Master of Social Work Advanced Policy & Advocacy class presented a panel called "It's Not on MY Map." Panelists who participated were Richard Montez, former candidate for San Antonio City Council, District 5 and Director of Members Services for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities; Patti Radle, former San Antonio Councilwoman; Rep. Diego Bernal, Texas State Representative for District 123; Queta Rodriguez, veterans service officer for Bexar County, and Matthew Martinez, Ph.D., research analyst at Rice University and graduate of the UTSA Applied Demography program. Over 150 people attended the event hosted by the YWCA on San Antonio's westside. This project outlined the equity impacts in San Antonio's most vulnerable zip codes. Panelists explored solutions for improving equal opportunity in housing, economic mobility, education, and other areas for greater success for all residents.  Attendees asked questions and shared their own concerns on what is happening in their communities. 

Click here to read more information on the class project "It's Not on MY Map."
Click here to see the San Antonio Population Characteristics by Zip Code.
Click here to view press coverage from the Huffington Post on this topic.

On Nov. 29, Rev. Peter Bauer, LCSW adjunct professor and his Advanced Social Work Policy Class held a panel discussion on Texas gerrymandering and voter suppression called "Take Your Vote Back." Panelists included Texas State Representative Diego Bernal; Executive Director of MOVE San Antonio & UTSA Public Administration Alumnus Drew Galloway; Interim Lead Organizer of COPS/Metro Walker Moore; St. Mary's University Political Science Professor Dr. Arturo Vega; and St. Mary's University School of Law Professor Albert Kauffmann. Panelists addressed the passing of the voting rights act and how it affected minorities in Texas, what can be done to increase voter participation, redistricting, and implementing policies to include more underserved populations in voting in Texas such as the homeless and those living in poverty. 

Click here to see the full video on YouTube.