Community Outreach Overview

The DSCEJ has developed and embraces a model for community partnership that is called 'communiversity'. This model emphasizes a collaborative management or partnership between universities and communities. The partnership promotes bilateral understanding and mutual respect between community residents and academicians. In the past, collaborative problem-solving attempts that included community residents and academicians were onesided in terms of who controlled the dynamics of the interaction between the two, who was perceived as knowledgeable, and who was benefited.

The essence of this approach is an acknowledgment that for effective research and policymaking, valuable community life experiences regarding environmental insult must be integrated with the theoretical knowledge of academic educators and researchers. Either group alone is less able to accomplish the goal of achieving environmental equity, but the coming together of the two in a non-threatening forum can encourage significant strides toward solutions. The DSCEJ has advanced the communiversity model with the formation of the Mississippi River Avatar Community Advisory Board (CAB). The board consists of representatives from grassroots organizations and leaders of affected communities in the corridor.
Communiversity Model Graphic