Just Neighbors Met on Campus – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Just Neighbors Met on Campus

A Just Neighbors meeting was recently held on campus to discuss the Geneva 2020 initiative, as well as the impact that adequate and safe housing has on education more broadly. Representatives from several agencies attended the meeting including Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes, Geneva Housing Authority, Ontario Department of Social Services, Legal Assistance of Western N.Y., the Geneva Human Rights Commission and the Colleges’ offices of Intercultural Affairs and Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning.

The Just Neighbors campaign is a national forum created by Catholic Charities which seeks to facilitate dialogue about issues critical to neighborhoods and communities across the country. In Geneva, the focus has been on bringing together voices from many different sectors of the community to engage in a discussion regarding housing and the impact that has on the community more broadly.

Geneva 2020 is a district-wide initiative which was started in 2011 to bring together a wide array of non-profits, businesses and individuals to advance the Geneva school system and build a stronger community. The fact that education is not a solitary issue, but rather a part of the community more broadly- and that the school systems successes and challenges impact all members of the community -was a major emphasis of the discussion.

The goals of Geneva 2020 include raising the graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020, having more than 20 percent of students score at mastery level on the NYSED regents exams, and expanding the Geneva High School alum outreach effort to support students in career and academic development. Initiatives to address these issues are being explored and implemented by many of the groups which were in attendance. Geneva High School is anticipating an 80 percent graduation rate among the 2013 class, a significant increase over recent years.

The primary purpose of the Just Neighbors initiative is to ensure continuous engagement and dialogue. Community members engaged in discussion groups exploring the impact of housing and homelessness on education as well as large group discussion. For more information about Geneva 2020 or the Just Neighbors initiative, please contact Katie Flowers, Director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, at (315) 781-3825 or at Geneva2020@hws.edu