This morning I met with the director of the Center for Social Justice at my undergrad school, and we talked about the idea I have to start a design/build program there as part of their social justice work. We had a good talk, and I feel like I presented my ideas well.
The university, unfortunately, isn’t at the place where they can start an entire new program like this, and in fact they’re on a total hiring freeze right now. But the director was really encouraging about how he could see the program I want to start fitting into what the school is already doing, sometime in the future. He told me about some programs connected with the school that are already doing work in the community, how they’ve moved into an apartment building formerly populated by prostitutes and drug dealers, and how they’re living in an intentional community and wanting to redesign their building to be sustainable and environmentally friendly, and how they’re doing a big community gardens project already. I already sort of know one of the guys who’s part of this program, so there are connections there. He also said if I was living in Nashville we could try starting the program I want to start by having a special topics class one semester and seeing what the student interest is, and then possibly building the program from that.
He also told me about work the Mayor’s office is doing in Nashville’s poor communities, and how one of the issues the Mayor ran on was enhancing the life of Nashville’s underprivileged. The guy who heads up that part of the Mayor’s office is, ironically, a guy I know from the church I went to when I lived in Nashville. We got to know each other because we were two of the very few young people at this church, and his then-fiance (now wife) went to Trevecca, the same school I did.
So… it turns out I have connections I didn’t know I had, and there are people here already doing some of the kind of work I want to do. I’m really inspired and excited, so now all I need to do is find a job that lets me move back to Nashville, and then convincing all these people who are already doing great work that partnering with an architect on some things wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
Fingers crossed, prayers said, broken mirrors avoided, etc.