Syracuse Community Geography Program

one way people often think about geography is kind of the “why of where”. [music] Syracuse community geography the university community partnerships in which faculty and students work with community partners on spatial analyses in geographical research questions that are of the community groups that we work with choosing. the community geography program basically working with local organizations or groups that need sort of like a problem answered or like a problem investigated using GIS technologies and mapping technology and mapping skills. This is a chance for our students in particular to gain exposure to real-world problems and see how the tools and technologies and the theory that we’ve been teaching them have application. So its a chance for them to put boots on the ground essentially and and put their learning into practice. So it’s really about going out and collecting the kind of information that will help these different community organizations either lobby for more resources, call attention to issues that have been ignored, or try to find solutions to problems that they are facing. So we wanted to figure out 3 efficient routes to bring food into the city…. I was attracted to the environmental issues of geography and that got me interested in environmental justice issues particularly and urban environments. Honestly I would say the community geography program with you during my internship with Jonnell Robinson… I got to work alongside her as she was working with the i-team on city of Syracuse and that allowed me to have to get to work hands on with the of water main break issue in syracuse. I got interested in it because I’m from Syracuse and I desperately wanted to find a way to help my local community using my geography major and so community geography was just like the perfect fit for me knowing that I could work with local organizations to help solve problems using my GIS geography skills I first signed up there was a community geography course and signed up for that class and i ended up doing this really amazing project about historic breweries and I didn’t think that breweries and geography could kind of be together but of the class really told me that there’s so much community involvement that can be brought in with geography. it’s nice because I can get back to the community that I’ve lived in for a while and use my skills to help better the community. I am in America Corp vista member and serving at home headquarters in Syracuse, New York Home headquarters is a nonprofit that tries to help low-income families maintain their homes and get access to mortgages to have home ownership. I work some of the same data sources such as poverty data-the census bureau and also looking at income and relationship across Syracuse, NY. So in many ways I think that my experiences at community geography have been very beneficial because i have an understanding already of what it looks like, especially in terms of spatial distribution. At this point we’ve worked with hundreds of community-based organizations and small governmental offices all over central New York primarily in syracuse and those projects have been very wide-ranging. we’ve worked on literacy, access to jobs… we’ve worked on hunger and mapping out access to emergency food services as well as other social services that we spend a variety of different projects. I think our community partners are very well aware of how space and place play into what they’re trying to do on a daily basis. And so for them geography and mapping helps to give them their bird’s-eye view of where people are in need of their services so that they can be more intentionally focused and getting the services that people need into the particular neighborhoods. I’m amazed at the things our students do you think that’s really impressive to me when you listen to them talk they are much better sort of Advocates then we are as as academics and you know their passion the ways that they kind of forms the kind of questions they ask and their skills and working with a range of different people their ability to working groups – they are just really impressive advocates for for geography. And you know importance a broader mission at Syracuse for producing knowledge in ways of thinking that help us solve real-world problems I think that our students kind of optimize the best of what we can do. Music

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