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Background and Achievements

The Partnership has had many achievements since 1999. Each of these accomplishments is in direct response to the goals incorporated in Rochester's northeast neighborhood. Each project was initially reviewed by the neighborhood leaders and was determined to be significant in furthering the neighborhood’s goals for economic revitalization. The collaborative efforts between the community and RIT have provided the neighborhood with valuable tools to expedite their specified objectives, and have allowed RIT students, faculty, and staff a unique opportunity to utilize their professional expertise in a way they would not have otherwise been able.

Click on the academic years below for more detailed information.

2000 - 2001

  • RIT invited to collaborate with the NorthEast Neighborhood Alliance (NENA.)

  • RIT collaborated with NENA on a Learn and Serve America: Higher Education grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service and funded a formal service-learning program.

  • First service-learning class offered as part of the NENA-RIT Partnership: Special Projects, Interior Design, College of Imaging Arts and Sciences (CIAS) Professor Nancy Chwiecko.

  • Information Technology student Andrew Blythe worked with NENA as part of cooperative education.

2001 - 2002

  • Inaugural publication of Beyond the Classroom partnership newsletter.

  • Student Leadership Corps (SLC) was formed.

  • Structure and Function class, Social Work, College of Liberal Arts (CLA), Professor Pam Viggiani, organizational analysis and comparison of NENA and the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI).

  • Applications of Geographic Information Systems, Environmental Science/Science Technology and Society, College of Science (COS)/CLA, Professors Karl Korfmacher/Professor Richard Shearman.

  • Entrepreneurship and Small Business Consulting, College of Business (COB), Professor Raymond Tierneybusiness development for the Greater Rochester Urban Bounty (GRUB) and TEN, the NENA newsmagazine.

  • Community Assessment, Social Work, CLA, Professor Roy “Butch” Rodenhiser.

  • Special Projects, Interior Design, CIAS, Professor Nancy Chwiecko.

  • Partnership documentary video created by Film and Animation student Jeff Metcalf.

  • Public Policy student Lyndsey Fisher and Environmental Science student Corrie Blodgett worked with NENA as Geographic Information Systems summer interns.

  • Three issues of BTC were published.

2002 - 2003

  • Sustainable Communities I, Public Policy/Science Technology and Society, CLA, Professor Ann Howard.

  • Sustainable Communities II, Public Policy/Science Technology and Society, CLA, Professor Ann Howard.

  • Introduction to Geographic Information System, Environmental Science, COS, Professor Karl Korfmacher.

  • Entrepreneurship and Small Business Consulting, COB, Professor Ray Tierney.

  • Communities, Social Work, CLA, Professor Roy “Butch” Rodenhiser.

  • Public Policy student, Lyndsey Fisher, hired as youth coordinator for GRUB’s Summer on the City Farm program.

  • Partnership was funded by New York State Campus Compact (NYCC) to host a Raise Your Voice event as part of National Civic Engagement Week. A community forum was held on campus and in the northeast, guest speakers included Congresswoman Louise Slaughter.

  • Two issues of BTC were published.

2003 - 2004

  • Sustainable Communities I, Public Policy/Science, Technology and Society, CLA, Professor Ann Howard.

  • Sustainable Communities II, Public Policy/Science, Technology and Society, CLA, Professor Ann Howard.

  • Communities, Social Work, CLA, Professor Roy “Butch” Rodenhiser – conducted interviews for resident oral history documentation.

  • Social work Professor Carolyn Hilarski worked with neighborhood youth, Cortez and Carmen Jones, on participatory action research focused on the effects of trauma and violence on family dynamics in the northeast community.

  • NENA-RIT Partnership offered a conference as capstone to three years of lessons learned, When the Grass Takes Root: Building Partnerships Between Urban America and Higher Education.

  • RIT collaborated with NENA on a Community Outreach Partnership Center (COPC) grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and was funded.

  • Summer on the City Farm youth program came to campus to share experience with the Student Leadership Corps.

  • Interior Design students Rachel Weigelt and Jennifer Kostek worked with Professor Nancy Chwiecko on researching content for a Housing rehabilitation guidebook to be used by NENA.

  • Environmental Science students Michael Burkett and Karen Taylor worked as GIS summer interns with NENA.

  • Two issues of BTC were published.

2004 - 2005

  • Sustainable Communities I, Public Policy/Science, Technology and Society, CLA, Professor Ann Howard.

  • Special Projects, Interior Design, CIAS, Professor Nancy Chwiecko.

  • Qualitative Policy Analysis, Public Policy/Sociology, CLA, Professor Christine Kray, students interviewed GRUB CSA member for program improvement.

  • Professional Technical Communications student Jessica Boden worked with partnership as part of a cooperative education to create promotional package for the partnership and write a first draft of the housing rehabilitation guidebook.

  • New Media Design student Jerlyn Thomas was hired by partnership to revise partnership website.

  • Social Work student William Whitefield was hired as partnership intern to continue oral history project and develop Neighborhood Information Center.

  • First Summer Learning Community: Learning Through Community.

  • 70 students, staff and faculty volunteered with GRUB as part of RIT ROCS (Reaching Out for Community Service).

  • RIT began partnering with North Street Recreational Center located in the northeast neighborhoods on youth leadership.

  • Two issues of BTC were published.

2005 - 2006

  • Sustainable Communities I, Public Policy/Science Technology and Society, CLA, Professor Ann Howard.

  • Qualitative Methods, Public Policy/Sociology, CLA, Professor Christine Kray, continued resident oral history project.

  • Social Movements in the Global Economy, Sociology/Anthropology, CLA, Professor Christine Kray, group continued GRUB Agriculture Training Center documentary begun by students in the 2005 Summer Learning Community.

  • Graduate Environmental Science student, Peter Mulroy, defended his masters thesis on urban ecology, focused on the GRUB gardens.

  • Social Work student, William Whitefield was placed with Anthony Jordan Medical Center located in the northeast neighborhoods for field work placement.

  • Principles of Marketing student team developed promotional plan for GRUB.

  • Graduate student learning community started – included students Stephanie Zettel and Alexis Blondrage, Environmental Science and Stephanie Simpson, Public Policy.

  • Professional Technical Communications student, John-Michael Stern was hired to edit first draft the housing rehabilitation guidebook.

  • RIT began discussions of collaboration with City School #45 located adjacent to the GRUB Vineyard.

2006 - 2007

  • Leadership Development Series began at the North Street Recreation Center – their Youth Council and RIT students met every three weeks to encourage learning, self-confidence and self-esteem.

  • April 1, 2006: 10 RIT Photography students volunteered to teach NSRC's youth how to use high-end digital cameras and allowed them to take, edit and print their pictures on RIT's campus.

  • Jeanette Warner, Photography student at RIT, began a weekly art class at NSRC.

  • GRUB Vineyard Summer Learning Community began – 12 RIT students helped with the farm's upkeep, selling the fruits and vegetables at Rochester's Public Market and organize field trips for School 45 students.

  • Two issues of BTC and the new Learning Through Community publication were created.

2007 - 2008

  • Photo Literacy Learning Community created: Democracy Through Photography,in Spring of 2007 – five RIT students and eight youths from NSRC formed a class to establish photography as a tool to examine their community.

  • May 20, 2007: the exhibit Picturing Change: Our Community, Our Vision was presented at Rochester's City Hall; the exhibit showed the North Street students' photography projects to family, friends and community leaders.

    • The show was then exhibited at Java Joe's in Rochester's Public Market in June

    • Moodmakers Books held the exhibition in July

    • Rochester Central Library held the last exhibition in August

  • The Vineyard Summer Learning Community continued during the Summer of 2007 – seven RIT students (including majors in Environmental Science, Photojournalism, New Media, Nutrition, Interior Design and Business) and nine NSRC youth held worked in the Vineyard planting, cultivating, harvesting and preparing produce for sale at Rochester's Public Market.

  • New Learning Community was created: The Way We See It, in March of 2008 – six RIT students and six youths from the North Street Community Center worked together to create a publication that shows their feelings and discoveries of the neighborhood in which they live.

2008 - 2009

  • Learning Community at the Vineyard continued during the Summer of 2008 – eight youths from Rochester's high schools (including Wilson Magnet, Benjamin Franklin, James Monroe, and Dr. Freddie Thomas) and six RIT students worked together in the fields, in hands-on workshops and field trips.

  • Head chef, Jimmy Camillo, at the Crystal Barn – a 5-star restaurant in Pittsford, NY – invited the Vineyard participants to the restaurant’s commercial kitchen for a unique field to table experience using the food they picked themselves.

  • Bridges to Wellness, a resident driven initiative, was created with the hopes of improving personal and community health in northeast Rochester – their Welcome to Our Community publication included a map that was made to inform neighbors of local health centers, community organizations and block clubs, all with the help of RIT students and local community members.

  • The Bridges to Wellness and The Way We See It's team create One Block at a Time, a Spring 2009 publication that continues to show the Community Heath Project's progress from March 2008 – seven youths from the NSCC and four RIT students coordinated and lead focus groups that brought together community members of all ages to create a tangible product that documented the neighborhood.

2009 - 2010

  • Field to Table: Childrens Garden at 1st Street began it's first summer, partnering with PathStone Corp. and the Marketview Heights Collective Action Project.  RIT students worked together with urban teens and residents to develop a childrens garden.  They formed a Leadership Team and taught youth where their food comes from, how to engage in fun physical activities, developing proper nutrition and physical health. McNair Scholars helped with a field day at the North Street Community Center, offering fun activities with our LeadershipTeam. 

  • Bridges to Wellness Website Development Learning Community:  Youth relayed after developing a resource guide for the BTW neighborhoods, they felt it was important to have a website for BTW.  Teens, residents and RIT students worked together to develop a website that would best meet their needs. You can visit the website by going to:

2010 - 2011

  • Neighborhood Leadership Institute: Partnering with PathStone Corporation and the Marketview Heights Collective Action Team, a weekend long conference provided workshops for natural leaders in the City of Rochester to increase their skills to take action in their communities.

  • Pilot Students In Service / AmeriCorps: RIT Univeristy/Community Partnerships was selected as one of 4 Universities in New York to pilot this part-time, direct service AmeriCorps program.  24 students were enrolled from across the Instititute, connecting what they've learned in the classroom to direct work with the community.

  • Urban Gardening Conference:  As more city of Rochester resident groups  expressed interests in developing community gardens, PathStone Corp. and the Marketview Heights Collective Action Team partnered with RIT University/Community Partnerships to offer educational information to start their own gardens.  Master Gardners from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County offered topics such as: soil, companion planting weeding, etc.  Hands on activities for youth were offered for up-side down planters and demonstrations with an environscape.

  • Bridges to Wellness Community Health Photo Learning Community:  Youth expressed interest in learning about photography and how you use the photographic lens to share their thoughts about community health.  The group of RIT students and youth developed an exhibit for the RIT Imagine Fest, a Photo Show for the Gantt Community Center and a publication, highlighting their work.

  • Field to Table: Children's Garden at 1st Street had a very successful second year!  More art, dance and music was brought in to the garden.  A Olympics themed field day took place, as teams made flags and engaged in fun physical activities.  Students from RIT Multicultural Center for Academic Success spent the day in the garden with youth, painting murals, making stepping stones, weeding and harvesting crops.

2011 - 2012

  • Field to Table--This was the third year for this project, connected RIT students with teens to form a leadership Team.  They provided hands-on education for youth and families in NE Rochester at the Children's Garden at 1st Street on growing produce, nutrition, physical activities and exploring the arts and music. There was a wonderful weekly learning opportunity with Wegmans Chefs, where produce picked in the garden was used to teach cooking skills with the youth,

  • Bridges to Wellness Community Health Video Learning Community, partnering with the Jordan Health Center and City of Rochester, Bureau of Recreation, Gantt Community Center.  Youth and RIT students worked with residents in the BTW neighborhoods to develop public service announcements and  videos that focuses on their thoughts for community health. The PSAs and videos have been shown on Channel 15 local access TV.  A publication was developed highlighting the Learning Community.

  • Education Award Program/AmeriCorps: RIT University/Community Partnerships was selected by New York Campus Compact to pilot their new part-time, direct service AmeriCorps program with RIT students took action in the community, applying their knowledge.

  • M. Ann Howard was selected by the American College Personnel Association as this year's "Champion of Sustainability.

2012 - 2013

  • To support the David F. Gantt Community Center renovation, the 2012 Fall Quarter "Sustainable Communities" Course taught by Ann Howard and Jane Amstey researched effective intergenerational programs.  This work was expanded in an independent study by a RIT graduate student.  RIT-UCP is partnering with the City of Rochester, Department of Youth Services and Recreation as they determine use of the new space and providing resident voice to assist them in their decisions.
  •  Partnering with the PathStone Corp. and the Marketview Heights Collective Action Project resident community group, students, faculty and staff worked on a number of projects with the Beautification and Housing Committees--community gardens, Field to Table: Children's Garden at First Street Project, Focused Investment Strategies and Urban Renewal District zoning in the Marketview neighborhood, Youth Law Enforcement Careers Fair, and the third Neighborhood Leadership Institute.  This group received the Betty Strasenburgh Award for Activism Award  in recognition for all there work.  
  • At the YSQC Annual meeting in December, Jane Amstey received professional peer recognition with the Quality Leadership Award, “for expertise, leadership, active involvement, dedication and commitment to the work of the Youth Services Quality Council to promote quality service for youth and families.”  

  • A new community health and local foods initiative was developed, partnering with the Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency and the Westside Farmers Market.  4 RIT students have completed co-op internships working with the resident leadership team of the Westside Farmers Market to promote the value of eating local and EBT program.

  • RIT-UCP oversaw the second year of the pilot Education Awards Program AmeriCorps, with 12 RIT students participating in this initiative.  They each give 300+ hours of direct work in the community.  Their placements related to their course of study, career and personal interests, often fulfilling internship/co-op requirements. Abubakar Ali, a Urban and Community Studies/International Studies student and AmeriCorps member received RIT's 2013 Bruce R. James Distinguished Public Service Award and the Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellows Award.  His AmeriCorps work in the community included the Center For Youth and Mary's Place.

2013- 2014 

  • RIT-UCP partnered with the Sociology/Anthropology Department to offer RIT students a 4 credits special topics course, "Youth Development and Community."  This course explored theory and best practices of positive youth development with particular attention given to understanding the urban youth experience and effectively engaging youth in their community for transformation.  20 students had experiential opportunities in the community, strengthening their research and presentation skills.

  • Through an ongoing partnership with PathStone Corp. and residents from the Martketview Heights Collective Action Project, RIT-UCP connected students with several on-going projects to deepen their academic experience, fulfilling requirements towards graduation through engaged scholarship. Projects included: The 3rd Annual "Neighborhood Leadership Institute" attended by 89 natural leaders in the city of Rochester; The 4th year of the "Field to Table: Children's Garden at First Street" Project.

  • Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency and RIT-UCP collaborated on the "Local Food Education and Awareness Project," funded by the NYS Agriculture and Markets, Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority. The project provided education and awareness for the health benefits to buy local, utilized local farmers markets, increase connections for neighbors and strenghten community.  Attention was given to the Westside Farmers Market to support the efforts of the all-volunteer staff to provide residents in the west side of Rochester access to fresh local produce. As a result, the WS Farmers Market increased patronage by more than 20% in the 2013 season.
  • Through a grant from the NY Council for the Humanities, "The Monroe County Family Farms:  Preserving Our Community's Heritage" project focused on the history of eight family farms that have been in operation for 100 years or more.  Students used archival research, photography and oral history interviews to document, collect the memories and personal commentaries of historical significance through recorded interviews. Three community dialog events were held in the community with 726 people in attendance. 160 people participated in interviews representing 50 zip codes, to share their connection to local agriculture.The recordings of interviews and archival documents will be preserved at the Rochester Public Library Local History Division for future research.  A website and was developed for the community to access this history at:


  • Initiated an oral History project as part of the Sustainable Communites Fall 2014 course with residents from the Marketview Heights Collective Action Project (MVHCAP) to highlight neighborhood diversity and "making the invisable visable."  This project promotes the vast accomplishments of this resident-led association of neighbors.  MVHCAP has developed a new Facebook presence and is currently developing a new website. To learn more about MVHCAP view them on Facebook at: Marketview Heights Collective Action Project (Rochester, NY.)
  • In partnership with the City of Rochester, Department of Recreation and Youth Services (DRYS) and neighborhood residents, a Community Advisory Committee pilot project was formed to support the staff of the David F. Gantt Community Center, providing resident voice in program planning and direction for the Center.  This intergenerational, diverse group of youth and adult residents developed operating guidelines for their group, focused on areas they would like to explore, and is developing a draft plan for the future of the Center.  They have sought input from key stakeholders, designed an interview guide and interviewed Center staff, developed a resident participant survey, collected and analyzed the data. This project was supported by an RIT Sociology/Anthropology intern. Currently, the Community Advisory Committee is meeting with DRYS staff and developing venues to share their findings.  They plan to survey summer participants at the Center, as there is often an expanded group of residents that utilize the Center than during the school-year.  This project will guide replication at other Community Centers.
  • Established a research partnership with researchers from Malmö University, Malmö, Swedan on a living archive project, further reinforcing resident-led initiatives focused on urban agriculture.  Held a successful "Eat a Memory" activity with Marketview Heights Collective Action Project resident leaders. Learn more at the Living Archive Research Project Website:
  • Through an ongoing partnership with the City of Rochester and local organizations in Northeast Rochester, supported the 2015 Neighborhood Leadership Institute, providing city residents leadership education to propel their projects forward in Rochester neighborhoods.
  • Secured funding of a Greater Rochester Health Foundation grant for the "Farm to Fork: Farmers Markets=Healthier Communities" project in collaboration with the Friends of the Public Market, Westside Farmers Market and the South Wedge Farmers Market.  This project promotes the value of eating local and the role of local farmers markets in providing access to locally grown affordable fresh food.
  • Designed and sponsored the "Connecting Campus to Community: Engaged Teaching, Research & Scholarship with the City of Rochester" Symposium in collaboration with an ad-hoc taskforce charged by the RIT Academic Senate to review the Scholarship of Engagement.
  • In collaboration and partnership with the Marketview Heights Collective Action Project (MVHCAP), PathStone Corporation, City of Rochester DRYS and RochesterWorks, had a successful "Field to Table: Children's Garden at First Street" 5th year with 3 RIT students working with 7 urban teens as a leadership team.  Two of the RIT students had been previous teen leaders from the beginning of this project, graduating from high school and became RIT interns, fullfilling co-op/internship requirements for the RIT courses of study. For the 2015 season, the project was  revised and expanded for the 6th summer.  This project connects MVHCAP residents with RIT students and urban high school teens to become a learning community, providing neighborhood youth urban agricultural education, nutrition, physical, cultural, creativity, personal and career development and participatory evaluation activities at the Children's Garden on First Street, the David F. Gantt Community Center and the MVHCAP Resource Center.