50 Years of Urban Growth and Engagement at West Chester University

For the past fifty-one years, West Chester University has come a vast, powerful way from the year of 1969 in the manner it defined the word in "urban" amongst its curriculum and the students there.

The university, then called West Chester State College, lacked not only diversity but engagement in order to benefit the lives of students of color who attended with intent to gain both an equitable and equal education.

While it lacked in many ways, there has been a strong amount of steady growth from organizations, professors, and even new academic courses/programs that have explored a new dynamic of urban studies. To digress, within each decade since 1969 to 2019, the university has established several urban-centered programs, courses, and electives to help engage the community in a more "Black" centered way. 

Through the years, the university has deemed them to resourceful not only for the prior years of negligence of the black community but used as a way to help future educators become more cultivated in order to serve any community they entered as teachers. This slow, yet steady growth established many buildups and connections between each decade that passed to ensure a better experience for every student of color. 

One program that specifically caters to the needs of urban students, urban youth, and community engagement that social change is the Youth Empowerment and Urban Studies (Y.E.S) program at now named West Chester University. This minor, and now the official program was started in 2013 and has grown ever since. This minor at the university benefits and is welcome to all students to be infused into their academic experience. There are several courses, fieldwork opportunities, and experiences that this program gives its students to become more focused and centered around a social change in urban settings. 

The exhibit will examine several implementations of programming, courses, electives, activities, and articles that showcase the very growth of the term "urban" at West Chester University. Beginning in 1969, the exhibit addresses each decade and exemplifies the urban history and culture through 2019.