Cool class: Summer in the City

September 21, 2015
Sierra Sanchez

Sierra Sanchez gives us a look at Summer in the City, an honors class where lessons came in the form of challenges and the classroom was the whole city.

Summer in the City (IDH3931) was one of the first classes I took at UF, and I’m glad I did. Being a non-native to Gainesville I was lost when it first came to finding things to do. Back home in Orlando, I knew of so many different places to go and things to do. But when I first arrived in Gainesville I had no clue where anything was besides Archer Road.

A few weeks before Preview, Dr. Melissa Johnson, who is one of the associate directors of the Honors Program, sent out an email advertising the class to freshman. The class was designed to help students who were not from Gainesville learn and become involved in the Gainesville community. Instead of a quizzes and tests each week, we had challenges and missions to accomplish, each one having to do with civic engagement, and the class ended with a mock-grant proposal for a community organization each group choose. Some of the organizations included the Weekend Hunger program at Catholic Charities, the Early Learning Collation of Alachua County and the Children’s Home Society of Mid Florida. The focus of each grant proposal was solving a problem for each of the organizations, such as more books, better security, renovations and food. Each group had to devise a way to solve the problems if they were to win the hypothetical $5,000 for their organization.

The project really engaged the class, and made us more aware of the problems that the Gainesville community faces, like high food insecurity rates and high wealth disparity. Many of us have joined and will continue to work with the organizations even though the class has ended. Another one of the ongoing assignments for the class was a Google Map entitled #GainesvilleRocks, where each week we had to plot a point of a place we had never been before and take a picture of it. Here are some of our many adventures. 

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