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Alternative Fall Break

Community Development in Light of Urban Renewal in Charleston, SC


About The Trip: 

Charleston boasts the reputation of being a popular tourist destination due to its plentiful beaches, vibrant historical landscape, and southern charm. Despite this, Charleston is also home to recent urban renewal which has both enhanced and hindered its resident population. Among those negatively impacted by these changes are farmers and low-income populations. In recognition of this, our trip will focus on building and benefiting the Charleston community, first by partnering with Project Green Heart to engage in sustainable farming practices with local youth and then by participating in the diverse outreach services at the North Charleston Dream Center. Our time will include a trip to a homeless shelter that provides transitional housing for homeless, and underserved families and individuals. The breadth of our trip will not only expose us to the existent realities of marginalized populations but will also allow us to claim an active role in fostering relationships and building community with the youth and individuals we interact with. Along with service, we will also have the chance to explore the natural beauty and rich cultural landscape of Charleston’s beaches and downtown attractions!

About the Social Justice Issue: 

Development is a common buzzword that brings about visions of high-rise buildings, advanced technology, and an influx of wealth. Yet while these desirable results are markers of progress, urban development also comes at a high cost to its underprivileged residents. With the recent wave of gentrification and urban renewal in Charleston, South Carolina, local low-income residents and marginalized populations have been displaced from their homes and the city has seen a shift in population demographics. Gentrification has not only resulted in displacement and a greater disparity between the wealthy and the disadvantaged but has also highlighted the underlying systemic issues that plague all urban centers: endemic poverty, hunger, and homelessness. In response to these issues, community development aims to meet the immediate needs of marginalized populations while fostering and relationships that providing them greater control over their socioeconomic situations as well as increased involvement within their local communities.

About the Leaders: 

Dara Liss is a sophomore in the College planning on majoring in Business and Arabic. She is a staff member of Volunteer Emory, a team member on Freedom at Emory and a member of the varsity track and field team.

Christine Tien is a junior studying biology and music. She is involved with Building Tomorrow and InterVarsity on campus, and her research in the McBride Lab involves studying antibiotic resistance mechanisms of the emerging pathogen Clostridium difficile. She likes slow cookers, multiple choice, and amazing puns.

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