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CommUniverCity San Jose: A Partnership for Service and Learning
Unformatted Document Text:  Elements of Successful Collaboration, Challenges, Potential for Replication Elements of Success: It Takes a Village. CommUniverCity benefited in numerous ways from a confluence of elements. The city and university were searching for ways to continue their collaboration. The university had been expanding service learning and seeking to strengthen community connections—and university leaders were prepared to support these activities with funding, albeit limited. The city had created the Strong Neighborhoods Initiative process to reconnect staff to residents and increase responsiveness, and provided substantial funding through its redevelopment agency. The FWBT neighborhoods had a cadre of active leaders and an infrastructure of neighborhood groups that facilitated community connections—and an established Neighborhood Advisory Committee that could work with CommUniverCity. The FWBT area itself was a good choice, underserved but far from hopeless and with great potential. But even perfect conditions can’t make a project work without the right people, including residents willing to volunteer and faculty ready, willing, and able to listen to the residents and work with them. The leadership and advocacy within their respective institutions of Dean Susan Meyers at the university and Kip Harkness, the city’s SNI manager, was essential. CommUniverCity was also fortunate to be working with Paul Pereira (an SJSU alumnus and respected member of the local Portuguese community) as 27

Authors: Christensen, Terry., Jackson, Melinda. and Agredano, Ricardo.
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Elements of Successful Collaboration, Challenges, Potential for Replication
Elements of Success: It Takes a Village. CommUniverCity benefited in numerous
ways from a confluence of elements. The city and university were searching for ways to
continue their collaboration. The university had been expanding service learning and
seeking to strengthen community connections—and university leaders were prepared to
support these activities with funding, albeit limited. The city had created the Strong
Neighborhoods Initiative process to reconnect staff to residents and increase
responsiveness, and provided substantial funding through its redevelopment agency. The
FWBT neighborhoods had a cadre of active leaders and an infrastructure of neighborhood
groups that facilitated community connections—and an established Neighborhood
Advisory Committee that could work with CommUniverCity. The FWBT area itself was
a good choice, underserved but far from hopeless and with great potential.
But even perfect conditions can’t make a project work without the right people,
including residents willing to volunteer and faculty ready, willing, and able to listen to
the residents and work with them. The leadership and advocacy within their respective
institutions of Dean Susan Meyers at the university and Kip Harkness, the city’s SNI
manager, was essential. CommUniverCity was also fortunate to be working with Paul
Pereira (an SJSU alumnus and respected member of the local Portuguese community) as
27


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