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Announcements Community Partners Kathy Crow Commons MHPS Commons Reflections

Winding Down 2023 with Engage Dallas

As the fall semester comes to a close, we would like to take a moment to reflect and celebrate. Students have participated in a variety of service projects this semester, serving a total of 1,519 hours, 986 of them being direct service hours in the community. Students had the opportunity to serve with a range of our community partners from After8toEducate to Empowering the Masse to Genesis Benefit Thrift Store and many more.

SMU students volunteering at Readers2Leaders

We heard from a couple of our first-year Engage Dallas Student Directors as they shared what they enjoyed. Hannah Green, our Student Director for Mary Hay Peyton Shuttles Commons, says, “Being an Engage Dallas Student Director has been such a growth experience for me. I love having the responsibility of planning and organizing events that other students can participate in.” When asked about the challenges she faced, she responded, “I think the most challenging part of having this position is the logistical responsibility along with the potential changes in plans that you might have to work around. Considering this, I think one thing that I have learned to develop is a solution-focused mindset.” 

Miles Chen is our student director for Kathy Crow Commons. He said he enjoyed, “… working with our community partners and learning more about what’s going on in the city. It was also really fun getting to serve alongside other SMU students.” A challenge for Miles was “…getting enough students to attend the service events, so I hope more students will learn about and get involved with Engage Dallas next semester! I also hope students will get to see service as less of a requirement, and more of something fun and impactful that they have the opportunity to do!”

Students serving at Austin Street Center for #1Day4Dallas

If you’re looking to get connected this spring, consider participating in an Alternative Break trip, where you can volunteer during spring break and fulfill your Community Engagement and Civics & Individual Ethics Proficiencies and Experiences to graduate. We have trips going out to Austin, Texarkana, and McAllen. We also offer Solo Service where students can serve with our community partners on an individual basis. We thank everyone who participated this semester and look forward to working with you next semester!

Finally, if you’ve ever considered planning and leading service trips like Hannah and Miles, consider applying to be an Engage Dallas Student Director for the 2024-2025 school year. Applications open January 22.

Make sure to follow us on Instagram @smu.engage.dallas to stay connected! 

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News Reflections

The Inaugural Engage Dallas Bus Tour

The inaugural Engage Dallas Bus tour took place on September 8. A total of 27 students participated and explored several historical sites around Dallas. We are so grateful to have partnered with Dallas Truth, Racial Healing, & Transformation who led the tour. In many ways, the tour highlighted the way that race and race relations in Dallas have impacted the lives of many Dallas natives. The tour also adds clarity to Engage Dallas’ place-based approach to service.

The tour went as follows:

Stop 1: John Neely Bryan Cabin, Old Red Courthouse, and Martyrs Park.

Students reading about John Neely Bryan’s Cabin.

Stop 2: Allen Brooks Marker

Stop 3: Pike Park and Santos Rodriguez Memorial

Students at the Santos Rodriguez Memorial.

Stop 4: Freedman’s Cemetery and Memorial

Stop 5: Booker T. Washington High School, St. Paul United Methodist Church, and Old Moreland YMCA.

Stop 6: Dallas Heritage Village, Millermore Mansion, and Gano House

Stop 7: Juanita J. Craft Civil Rights House

Group picture in front of the Juanita J. Craft Civil Rights House.

In a post-event assessment, some of the students shared what they learned from the tour. One student shared:

“I learned about how gentrification of towns can affect racial demographics.” Another said: “I learned about important people like Juanita Craft and Santos Rodriguez.”

Other students shared what they liked about the event.

“I liked how we were able to see some landmarks, and information about important people that I didn’t know existed.”

Another student expressed, “I liked to see the women’s representation during that period [of time].”

We’d like to acknowledge that all students who participated earned 4.5 hours of general engagement that go towards their Community Engagement and/or Civics & Individual Ethics Proficiency.

We hope to make this tour an annual event.

Stay connected with us by following @smu.engage.dallas on Instagram!