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UAB honors students visit Woodlawn for lesson in community development

Students in the University of Alabama at Birmingham‘s Global and Community Leadership Honors program visited Woodlawn this week to learn about community and economic development. REV Birmingham was glad to welcome the incomparable professor Anthony Hood and his class as we talked about inclusive revitalization in Woodlawn and other urban commercial districts. 

The students are enrolled in a course called Leadership in Action, which is an offering of the Honors Program. One of the aims of the course is to guide students in taking a deep dive into some of the pressing issues and opportunities present in Birmingham as well as the people and organizations who are addressing them. 

The students visit area nonprofits to learn about how change is being made in Birmingham. By learning about how inclusive revitalization is working in Birmingham, these students can be inspired and continue to contribute to the change in Birmingham and around the world. 

Prior to their visit to REV, students were introduced to the key ideas and concepts associated with CO.STARTERS for Causes. They then conducted background research on REV using the CO.STARTERS version of the business model canvas. The students were then tasked with identifying key contacts and coordinating a site visit for the peers. In preparation for the visit, students shared their research with one another.  

CO.STARTERS is a 12-week program of Create Birmingham on which REV is a proud partner. 

During the class period after the visit, students engaged in a facilitated debrief to share and document their lessons learned. 

“Overall, they were impressed with the thoughtfulness and comprehensiveness of REV’s approach to economic development and catalytic growth,” said Hood. “They were also excited about the opportunity to share information with other students across campus regarding any volunteer and internship opportunities with REV.” 

Since their visit to REV, the students have begun coordinating site visits to other organizations such as the Woodlawn FoundationBirmingham Education FoundationSaturnDISCOJones Valley Teaching FarmsForgePizitz Food Hall and the Birmingham Land Bank Authority 

By expanding the boundaries of the classroom beyond UAB’s campus, these students are becoming equipped with the knowledge and unique perspectives necessary to be effective leaders in their communities. 

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