MPA Students Building Community Resilience

This semester, several MPA students have been actively engaged in San Francisco’s Resilient Community Initiative, whose ultimate goal is a ResilientSF.  Part of a larger collaborative effort called the Neighborhood Empowerment Network University (NENu) that involves Bay area academic institutions, city agencies, and community groups, the Resilient Community Initiative involves students and faculty from several departments at SF State who work collaboratively to help communities build resilience by mapping assets, identifying collective priorities, and creating strong, inclusive networks with adaptive capacities.

Under the direction of Dr. Jennifer Shea, three MPA students are interning with SF State’s Institute for Civic and Community Engagement (ICCE) and are focused on specific projects that are part of the Resilient Community Initiative.  Two students, Lorelei Penera and Holly Szafarekh, have been working to identify and measure various dimensions of resilience – work which will ultimately be used to create an index of indicators of various dimension of resilience that will be available and accessible to San Francisco residents.  The index will be used to inform efforts focused on identifying and strengthening community resilience and to help assess the effectiveness of resilience-building efforts.  Another student, Ana Guzina, is working to identify the characteristics of active community groups, as well as the relationships among them, and to map the connections of up to five collaborators/community organization.

Several other MPA students have also been actively engaged in work related to NENu and the Resilient Community Initiative.  Charles MacNulty has been interning for the project at ICCE and in that role has served as a key liaison for students who took PA 705 (Research Methods & Data Analysis I) this semester.  PA 705 students interviewed community stakeholders in North Beach, as part of the Engaged Learning Zone initiative there.   Much of this work will extend past the semester and the Resilient Community Initiative will go into next year and beyond, so stay tuned for updates as we progress.


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