Announcements News

Engage Dallas publishes fall 2021 executive summary

Engage Dallas is a place-based community engagement initiative via SMU’s Residential Commons to address community needs focusing on South and West Dallas which launched in October 2020.  

Engage Dallas published a 4-page summary of fall 2021 accomplishments and spring 2022 goals. Accomplishments included: 735 students attended Engage Dallas events in the fall semester, #1Day4Dallas service day included 7 service sites with 105 participants, and 16 new community partners announced.  

Explore the executive summary for yourself:  

Announcements News

Engage Dallas announces 16 new community partners

Engage Dallas is excited to announce our newest community partners as we continue our work to address community needs in South and West Dallas via SMU’s Residential Commons.

In Fall 2021, the Engage Dallas Offsite and Risk Management Committee noticed that as Engage Dallas grew, the needs of our students and community partners started to vary. Engage Dallas strives to facilitate a mutually beneficial relationship between the campus and SMU community. To ensure that community partners have volunteer support at various times and that students had opportunities to serve outside of their class schedules, the need to expand our network of community partners surfaced.

Audryanna Reed, Offsite and Risk Management Committee co-chair, shared “interviewing and onboarding new community partners has been an exciting process. Our new partners are energetic and are anticipating serving our students. I think expanding our number of community partners was a great idea so that our students can have consistent opportunities to serve throughout the community.”

Our community partners offer a combination of monthly, group volunteer opportunities and individual opportunities such as solo service, individual pathways, and internships for SMU students. Service opportunities for the spring semester will kick off in February 2022 with monthly, group service through the RC and solo service to support community partners with limited volunteer capacity.

Jin Ae, Volunteer and Operations Association for Readers 2 Leaders, noted that “Readers 2 Leaders is so grateful to partner with Engage Dallas and have SMU students serve with us to support student learning, especially during this challenging time. As an SMU Embrey Human Rights Program alumna, I am so inspired to see the university taking an active approach in connecting with and serving the Dallas community.”

SMU is excited to announce the following organizations as the Spring 2022 community partner cohort for Engage Dallas. Each Residential Commons is listed with its chosen community need and new partner(s).

Armstrong Commons | Homelessness

  • The Stewpot

Boaz Commons | Food Insecurity

  • CitySquare
  • Mission Oak Cliff

Cockrell-McIntosh Commons| College Access & Preparation

  • Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas

Crum Commons |Arts as Social Impact

  • Remembering Black Dallas
  • Bishop Arts Theater Center

Kathy Crow Commons | Environmental Injustice

  • Trinity River Audubon Center

Loyd Commons | STEM Education

  • Crowned Scholars
  • Jubilee Park

McElvaney Commons | Community Wellbeing

  • Brother Bill’s Helping Hands

Morrison-McGinnis Commons | Childhood Poverty

  • Vogel Alcove
  • Behind Every Door

Virginia-Snider Commons | Childhood Literacy

  • Readers 2 Leaders

Ware Commons | Community Rebuilding

  • Empowering the Masses
  • Frazier Revitalization

For more information on Engage Dallas partnerships, visit the Engage Dallas website. Inquiries by community organizations or suggestions for partnership can be submitted via the Engage Dallas Community Partner Information Form.


Announcements Armstrong Commons Boaz Commons Cockrell-McIntosh Commons Community Partners Crum Commons Event Kathy Crow Commons Loyd Commons McElvaney Commons MHPS Commons Morrison-McGinnis Commons News Reflections Virginia-Snider Commons Ware Commons

#1Day4Dallas a success in inaugural year

Engage Dallas hosted its inaugural Residential Commons Fall Day of Service, #1Day4Dallas, on Saturday, October 16th.  

Each of the 11 Residential Commons were represented with over 100 participants serving at 8 different locations around South and West Dallas: Rebuilding Together North TexasNorth Texas Food BankHeart HouseRestorative FarmsSMU College Access Programs, The Senior Source, and Voice of Hope. Collectively, participants contributed over 500 hours of service and engagement during #1Day4Dallas. 

Kirk Thomas, who serves as the Student Director of Ware Commons, was a leader in the planning for #1Day4Dallas. He described the experience of seeing the event come together as a thrill. 

“Seeing 1Day4Dallas come together for the first time in Engage Dallas’s history after weeks of planning was electric, like the feeling of weightlessness on a rollercoaster,” said Thomas. “Not only was it fulfilling being a part of meaningful community service work to help our neighbors in Dallas, but having that feeling amplified knowing that all across Dallas, SMU students were doing projects anywhere from home repairs to planting fresh vegetables in a community garden. Personally, I care because in doing these projects, we are able to create a sustainable cycle of people helping people. The more communities and neighbors we support and build up, the better off they will be not just today, but for tomorrow also.” 

Kirk and his fellow Ware students served with Rebuilding Together North Texas for #1Day4Dallas, where they helped to remove carpet and place wood flooring in the home of a West Dallas resident.

A student participant shared, “It was a wonderful experience to finally volunteer and directly serve another community.” The impact service had on students was tangible throughout the day. Engage Dallas is excited to continue to serve our Dallas neighbors. Students who remained on campus served our community through The Not So Big Event, hosted by SMU Big Event in partnership with Tango Tab.

Thank you to all students, faculty, staff members, and Community Partners for engaging with us through #1Day4Dallas. Please visit our website,, to learn more. Contact us at Follow us on Instagram at @smu.engage.dallas. 


Engage Dallas is a place-based community engagement initiative via SMU’s Residential Commons to address community needs focusing on South and West Dallas. The initiative is a long-term, university-wide commitment led by students to partner with local residents, organizations, and other leaders to positively impact the community. There is equal emphasis on campus and community impact stemming from the initiative. 

Announcements News

The Engage Dallas Resource Library is now live

Engage Dallas is excited to unveil the Resource Library available to all students, faculty, staff, and community members.

The resource library was designed by two SMU students, Shelby Peck and Cristal Mendez. Peck ’21, an undergraduate student studying Public Policy and Political Science, described the experience as “an incredible way to connect with the Dallas community by learning more about the social problems that affect the areas of South and West Dallas and seeing the resources available to address these problems through community partnerships.” 

The resource library will be unveiled in two phases. Phase one encompasses all Residential Commons-specific social problems and offers a self-paced, deeper learning experience through four different categories:  

  • “Listen & Learn” gives access to short videos that help the readers gain an introductory understanding of the social problem 
  • “Watch & Reflect” allows the readers to experience a more in-depth video or podcast that offers an extensive dive into the social problem 
  • Through “Explore & Understand,” readers will have access to an individualized learning experience and will be able to engage with various web resources, digital learning tools, and articles to deepen their learning 
  • “Learn More” provides the reader with articles, publications, and relevant nonprofit resources to further their understanding 

Phase two will allow viewers to progress through the history of South and West Dallas. While exploring the rich histories, the Resource Library will point out connections between the historical context of these communities and the current community-identified needs. Mendez ‘22, a graduate student in the M.Ed. in Higher Education program, shared that “the most exciting part about this entire process has been using my previous knowledge gained in the classroom to develop the Resource Library while gaining new knowledge about my West Dallas community.” 

Peck mentions that “you can look forward to seeing the history of Dallas unfold in a way that highlights the origins of the social problems we addressed in phase one, with an emphasis on how certain actions throughout Dallas’ history led to the ‘current’ South and West Dallas.” Phase two will be published December 2021. 

The below image is a preview of the resource library and the options that you can expect when starting your social problem exploration. Explore phase one. 


Announcements Community Partners News

Partnerships are pivotal…community partnerships are highlighted in new Engage Dallas video

Community partners are central to what makes Engage Dallas possible.

We recognize that the Engage Dallas initiative is new to the South and West Dallas communities, so we plan to work with community partners to advance the goals and initiatives that are important to the community members and best fitting for their needs. We know that we are not the experts, but our community partners offer invaluable insight and expertise that will empower us to serve in the most effective and efficient ways. Check out this short video to learn more about what Engage Dallas is and how you can get involved!

We invite you to explore our 11 community needs. If your organization supports or addresses one of these areas, we would love to have you connect with us!