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Westside, Stand Up!

Engage. Lead. Transform.

Westside Stand Up Initiative at Spelman CollegeThe community surrounding the AUC is changing. As the Atlanta Committee for Progress states, "The challenges of concentrated poverty and disinvestment in residential properties make coordinated revitalization in this area particularly challenging.

Like the ACP, Westside residents, neighborhood planning committees, activists, business owners and educators, we believe those planning to develop in Westside areas, are required to "ensure that fifteen years from now, the lives of the people who live in the Westside today are fundamentally better because of improvements in the neighborhood’s educational and economic opportunities."

In the News: Atlanta’s Westside ‘Action Plan’ strives to improve lives of residents


Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell Speaks at Westside Future Fund Meeting


Spelman President Speaks at Westside Future Fund

Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell was the featured speaker at the Transform Westside Summit on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016. Her presentation, "Atlanta University Center: Anchor, Activist and Innovator," examined the critical and historic role Atlanta University Center Schools -- Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Morehouse College -- have played in the development of Atlanta's Westside.

Her presentation also outlined the active role the institutions will take in helping to shape the area's future.

Dr. Campbell's Transform Westside Presentation

Green Infrastructure Plan can Link Atlanta’s HBCUs With Westside Communities
"Westside Atlanta represents the rise and fall and the impending revival of a community. The historic core of the community is the Atlanta University Center, a consortium of historically-black colleges and universities. The consortium of the black colleges began in 1929," writes Maria Saporta.

We Learn Here. We Work Here. We Care Here.

Spelman Students Care About the CommunitySpelman College students, employees, and the larger Atlanta University Center community are part of a unique moment here in the Westside of Atlanta. As members of this community, we have an opportunity to participate in the shaping of its future.

In the past, gentrification was the law of the land when efforts to revitalize and develop destitute communities fell short of encompassing democratic processes. Fortunately, through the collective work of concerned students, informed faculty and administrators, and passionate community leaders, a new age has been defined in which urban planning and community development is spearheaded by the true stakeholders -- the people who live, work, play, and learn in these neighborhoods.

Spelman Students Take Active Role in Westside PlanningGentri Who? What is Gentrification?

Gentrification is a general term for the arrival of wealthier people in an existing urban district, a related increase in rents and property values, and changes in the district's character and culture. The term is often used negatively, suggesting the displacement of poor communities by rich outsiders.


We Matter. Get Involved.

Time is of the essence. The AUC and surrounding community have been given 60 days to create a single document outlining all recommendations for the land-use and development plan that will be submitted to the Plan Westside team for review.

President Campbell and the Spelman SGA have taken the initiative to collaborate with student organizations who have for a long time been involved in Plan Westside projects, including AUC Shut It Down, the Committee on Atlanta/Surrounding Communities Advancement and Development Equality (CASCADE) and the Social Justice Fellows, however, this is a community effort.

Be The Change. Act Now.

In order to achieve this goal within the expedited timeline, a maximum number of stakeholders is needed to contribute research, resources, intellectual capital, creative input in the preparation of what is now being referred to as the Community Development and Stabilization Five-Year Plan.

This means we need YOU to stand up and speak out. As the deadline approaches, we will distribute additional updates and announcements to continue to engage everyone in the Spelman family.

Stay Engaged. Be Informed.

There are a number of ways students can get involved with Westside Stand Up:

As always, students are encouraged to commit to informed engagement. This means researching the history, context, and cultural implications of this plan.

  • Stay in the loop by continuing to check the Westside Stand Up page as we will be adding updates on events, new developments, progress, and a place for feedback as time progresses
  • Keep the conversation going on social media and use your platform to help raise awareness
  • Repost Westside Stand Up fliers as they are blasted
  • Register your organization as a Westside Stand Up partner
  • Visit the student mural that will be constructed in Upper Manley (coming soon)
  • Students who are exceptionally driven to make this project a success and can exhibit working knowledge of one or more of the Eight Priorities, should send an email with their name, classification, and brief statement of interest to Jill Cartwright, SSGA director of compliance and safety and C.A.S.C.A.D.E. director, using the following email address:

Westside Stand Up Priorities

The Westside Stand Up coalition has identified Eight Priorities or target areas for improvement. They consist of the following:

  • Education
  • Safety
  • Business/Economic Inclusion
  • Technology/Research
  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Sustainability
  • Wellness
Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell

Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., Discusses Spelman's Role in Westside Planning

blue-quote-leftA high priority for Spelman College is to participate in a plan that improves the educational, work and living conditions of the Westside for residents and creates a vibrant college town for the four campuses.

A vibrant college town is not an amenity but a necessity for the ongoing educational excellence of Spelman and the entire Atlanta University Center.

I believe that our ability to attract faculty, retain excellent students and create the kind of community partnerships that animate and enhance us as a liberal arts college, depend on improving the community that we call home.

Spelman takes this opportunity to acknowledge the work of a host of community and not for profit groups with long histories of important work in our neighborhood: Westside Communities Alliance, Truly blue-quote-rightLiving Well, City of Refuge, Proctor Creek Alliance, Families First etc. to name a few. Spelman’s work in the community will be in partnership with the work of these activist organizations.

Our Success Depends on All of us Working Together for Good

Please Note: In addition to the organizations listed above, there are several longstanding institutions that have been working for years to improve life on the Westside. They include, but are not limited to: Friendship Baptist Church, Communities In Schools, West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, The Shrine of the Black Madonna, Raising Expectations and the neighborhood associations of English Avenue, Vine City and Washington Park.

Student committees will each identify a specific community partner to work with on each of their eight focus areas. Stay tuned for more information about this partnerships.

Community Engagement at Spelman

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Be in the Know: This Is What Happens After a Neighborhood Gets Gentrifie

Community Engagement at Spelman

Westside Future Fund Meeting Aug. 19, 2016

Westside Future Fund Meeting Sept. 16, 2016

Community Engagement at Spelman

Get Social
Follow the Spelman Student Government Association on Twitter and on Facebook for news you can use.

Speak up at Westside Summit
Let your voice be heard at the Transform Westside Summit on the first and third Fridays of each month at The Gathering

Attend Additional  Meetings
The Atlanta University Center Neighborhood Association meets every third Thursday at the Morehouse Leadership Center

See the Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU)-T Meeting Schedule, which includes the AUC,

Proctor Creek Stewardship Council meets on the first Friday or Saturday of every month from 1-3 p.m.

Students Speak Out

Spelman Senior Lizette Terry at Westside Summit

During the Westside Future Fund's #TransformWestsideSummit on Friday, Dec. 2, 2016, comparative women's studies major and writing minor Lizette Terry, C'2017, was asked her thoughts regarding Westside revitalization efforts and why she loves living on the Westside. The New York native's thoughts were featured on the WFF's website and in their December newsletter.

Read what Terry has to say about the Westside.