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Transforming communities

We are deeply embedded in the community forging partnerships to take on projects that have local, national and international impact. We take on complex challenges, and work collaboratively to find and implement solutions.  We work with more than 800 community partners -- and our students are a part of the solution before they graduate. Through nearly 400 internships, service-oriented projects and other hands-on opportunities, our students contribute more than 600,000 hours of service each year.

Community Assessments throughout Rural Arizona

As part of two classes in Tourism and Development (TDM 372 & TDM 402) and in collaboration with the Center for Sustainable Tourism, teams of students tie community needs and economic development efforts to strengthen tourism development. Groups have worked on projects for both rural and metro areas including Globe, Marana, Greenlee, Bisbee, Wickenburg, Maricopa, Peoria, and Scottsdale.

Phoenix Public Transit Report

As students learned about statistical analysis in their Public Service Research II course (PAF 502), they had an opportunity to apply their analytical skills to a project that helped provide feedback to the Phoenix Public Transit Department. Students were involved in administrating a survey, conducting data analysis, writing a report, and presenting it to the community stakeholders.

Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department

As part of a graduate course in Community Resources and Development (CRD 683), students conducted a study regarding congestion issues at the Echo Canyon trailhead. A report of findings and recommendations was presented to city council and many of the recommendations have been implemented in a new parking lot and trailhead design.

A group of 60 students in the Voluntary Action and Community Action and Community Leadership (NLM160) class are working on a wide range of projects from renovation of the game room to event planning at the Salvation Senior Activity Center in central Phoenix.  The class is divided into ten committees, each focused on a different task.  Now in its second year, the project has given over 115 students the opportunity to apply class work to the community.

As part of their involvement in the Lodestar Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Innovation, students worked with officials from the City of Phoenix to develop a plan for the Garden of Dreams at Encanto Park, ultimately securing funding of $100,000 for the project. Students applied classroom concepts of community development and helped facilitate a multi-sector collaborative effort.

Data Analysis for Arizona Department of Corrections

Students in the Criminology and Criminal Justice Introduction to Corrections course (CRJ 240) applied course content to real world issues when they helped analyze interview data from more than 200 interviews with inmates as part of a study on visitation and its impact on inmate well-being, misconduct, and recidivism for the Arizona Department of Corrections.

The College joined a national effort led by Harvard’s Institute of Politics (IOP) to encourage participation and engagement in politics by America’s young people.  In 2014, ASU student representatives from the Spirit of Service Scholars Program recently joined four dozen other undergraduates from National Campaign schools across the country for the campaign’s annual conference on fostering campus civic engagement. 

Engaging children at the Watkins Emergency Overflow Shelter

Several degree programs in our college require community service. For example, every semester about 20-30 Public Service students spend their evenings playing with children at the Watkins Shelter.  On Sundays, the volunteers are almost all ASU students.  The shelter serves up to 120 homeless single women and their children, and up to 20 families every night, providing a safe place to sleep and access to a healthy meal.

Finding solutions to local and global challenges

Challenge: how do we measure the effectiveness of police officer body-worn cameras?

Solution: Criminology professor Michael White is recognized as the leading expert in the field receiving media attention, in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, International Business Times and more. He also recently penned an op-ed in the Arizona Republic as part of a national conversation on how cameras can help in law enforcement. 

Challenge: how do we measure the economic impact of arts in community development?

Solution: Students in the School of Community Resources and Development evaluated the economic impact of the Chihuly exhibit at the Desert Botanical Garden finding that attendees spent over $22 million while visiting Phoenix. Their expenditures created over 365 jobs, $13 million in income, a $21 increase in gross regional product and $2 million in state and local tax revenue.

Challenge: during challenging economic times, how do cities build infrastructure for the future?

Solution: Partnering with the Smart Cities Council, School of Public Affairs professors Kevin Desouza and David Swindell released a report outlining some of the most promising innovations in municipal finance to fund systems like transportation and water to smaller projects. 

Challenge: nearly 25% of women will experience severe violence at the hand of a partner—how to do we decrease this rate and the severity?

Solution: Social work professor Jill Messing recently completed a study examining the effectiveness of The Lethality Assessment Program, a collaborative intervention that brings together police and social service providers in an effort to implement a more holistic solution.