In pictures: Building community, one project at a time
June 2014—text by Jenny Morgan, photography by Sandra Costello
At the beginning of the spring semester, each of the 30 students in the community-based learning course, Building Community, was asked to reflect on a single question: What, exactly, does it mean to build a community? “It’s a concept that gets thrown around a lot these days,” says Philip Hendrix ’14. “I took the course because I wanted to get a little more concrete about what it means to strengthen a community.”
Photographer Sandra Costello followed students in Building Community as they completed their community-based projects. Explore the photos by clicking on the image below.
The American studies course doesn’t just ask students to think about how to build communities— it asks them to participate in building communities. Working in eight teams, students dug into community projects as varied as raising awareness about local poverty, examining lunches at an after-school program, and creating video portraits of adult learners.
After spending the semester conducting oral history interviews of Latina women activists in Holyoke, Mass., Hendrix says he now thinks building community is about “getting people together, getting them to care about one another, and getting them willing to work for one another.”