O’FALLON PARK — Students from Harvard University visited north St. Louis last week. They toured several places in St. Louis and spoke to community leaders. The students traveled all the way from Massachusetts to learn about the changes happening on the north side and why its leaders are so passionate about their neighborhoods.
Daniel D’Oca is an associate professor at Harvard in the Department of Practice of Urban Planning and this semester he is leading a class titled “The New Selma” which chronicles and discusses activism in north St. Louis post-Ferguson. The Harvard class is made up of architecture and urban planning students who are studying the organizations and people who are creating change in north St. Louis. Students will also be partnering with community members throughout the semester on equity-based initiatives.
On one of their stops at the North Campus Partnership, Harvard student Aleiya Evison asked NorthSider publisher and former St. Louis alderman Antonio French: “Talk about your decision to return to north St. Louis after college. Why did you choose to come back?”
French answered: “For a lot of kids the goal is to get out of the ‘hood. No one wants to stay and rebuild the ‘hood. I chose Auburn because it was far away and I wanted different experiences. I decided to come back because St. Louis is my home and I want to try and make it better, not complain about it.”
The Harvard group also visited the North Newstead Association, Forward through Ferguson, 14th Street Artist Community, New Roots Urban Farm, the North Corridor Collaborative, NorthSide Community Housing, and the Peace Park in College Hill.