Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. identified six steps towards nonviolent social change. The first step is doing research. Community-based research (CBR) projects include community members at some level in directing, designing, implementing, analyzing, using and/or evaluating research aimed at empowering the community and facilitating social change. Rather than conducting research on a community, CBR involves scholars and students doing research with a community. The research process itself involves the pooling of academic and community knowledge and skills along with knowledge revision and additional skills acquired in iterative cycles of dialog, action, and reflection.
On Wednesday, March 9th, CCE representatives, Hofstra faculty, and community partners gathered to attend the Community Connections dinner to discuss community based research opportunities and the relationship between Hofstra and its surrounding community. The event was organized by Dr. Kari Jensen, chair of the Community-based Research Committee for the Center for Civic Engagement and an Associate Professor of Global Studies and Geography, as well as Dr. Greg Maney, Director for Active Citizenship and Community Partnerships at the Center for Civic Engagement. The Community Connections dinner event was constructed with the purpose of connecting student researchers with community organizations in need, and fulfilled its purpose by facilitating conversation between students, faculty, and community members regarding the impact that Hofstra and its students have on the surrounding community.
Guest speaker Jeannine Maynard, Co-Facilitator of the Greater Uniondale Area Action Coalition (GUAAC) and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, began the conversation by sharing GUAAC’s experiences in partnering with CCE to conduct research on the foreclosure crisis and other challenges facing Uniondale. Her speech was supplemented with photos of Hofstra students on site throughout Uniondale, and included before and after photos and maps to help the audience visualize the discussed improvements to the area. Other community organizations represented included Meals on Wheels, Erase Racism, Long Island WINS, and various others. The dinner resulted in lots of networking between students, faculty, and community organizations; connecting community organizations to one another and offering insight for many into services that will absolutely help the citizens of Uniondale and its surrounding area. By connecting communities with Hofstra, CCE leaders paved the way for similar talks in the future, and laid foundation for continuing community involvement and improvement.