Change is a process, not an event.
Since committing to the revitalization of the Poinsett District in April of 2012, Furman students have learned that change is a process, not an event.
Mural painted near the old Pepsi Bottling Company on the Poinsett Corridor by Furman Art student Hannah Robinson as a part of a community service day .
As summer faded into fall, teams of campus leaders, classes and new student groups on campus played a critical role in contributing to the revitalization of the District. From working with communities and county planners to lead neighborhood meetings to planting new groves of trees, painting trailers and creating plans for social ventures, our experiences have been as unique as the people that we are working with.
Painting a mural that tells the story of the Poinsett Corridor on POP Studio, a mobile design studio for public works projects.
Furman student Yolanda Jiang making stockings with Brenard at a community art center on the Poinsett Corridor.
On multiple occasions, a committee of student groups on campus worked with faculty and staff to mobilize over one thousand volunteers to plant community gardens, restore abandoned cemeteries and create a new sense of pride in the neighborhoods along the Poisnett Corridor.
POP Studio and Heller Service Corps partnered with residents in New Washington Heights and local county leaders to plant new trees and restore a grove in Happy Hearts Park.
Furman students work in Poe Mill to refurbish a playground and create a pocket park for area residents.
On a weekly basis, Furman’s Engaged Living program and new student group POP Studio took to the streets to meet the people that call the Poinsett are their home. POP Studio is a public works studio that connects students with residents to share stories, create projects and design solutions that empower people of the Poinsett District.
Through crafting alongside new friends, designing backpacks made from scrap fabric or upcycled clothing from donation closets, POP used the fall semester to experiment with community art and storytelling as a platform for building empathy while beginning the human-centered design process.
While we learned about the processes of socialization, the origins of poverty and wealth inequality and the importance of community in our classes, no textbook scenario could replicate the time that we spent with people in the places that they call home.
As the year draws to a close, we’re thankful to have learned a great deal about the importance of communication, the value of trust, and an understanding that the most important outcomes are not always tangible. We are genuinely excited about what the future holds for the Poinsett Corridor, and for Furman University. In the spirit of architect Samuel Mockbee, we will certainly ”Proceed and be bold”.