Project Title: Town Gown Relationships in Delaware Ohio
Students: Adrian Bishop ’17, Sarah Kohn ’18, Reilly Reynolds ’16, and Michael Mora-Brenes ’16
Mentor: Dr. Paul Dean
Understanding the correlation between colleges and their communities, also known as town to gown relationships, becomes crucial in the analysis of college towns’ social, cultural and economic development. Higher education institutions have long been regarded as key agencies in stimulating economic growth and social welfare in there hometowns. Additionally, strong and collaborative town to gown associations have shown to improve local residents’ perception of college students and vice-versa. Located in the heart of Delaware, Ohio Wesleyan University has always been known for its very strong commitment to the community. In fact, every year, local and non-local students engage in a variety of service-based events with the intent to strengthen the school’s connection with Delaware residents. This research project examines Ohio Wesleyans’ various contributions to the Delaware community, and the extent to which these contributions affect the vitality and wellbeing of the city and its residents. We identified some of the main problems that affect Delaware residents, and examined how the university responds to those needs of the community. In addition, we looked at current social programs and service events sponsored by the university in order to determine whether or not these initiatives effectively meet the needs of the individuals involved. For our data collection, we conducted semi-structured interviews with several students, local residents and community leaders in order to get their opinion on areas related to our research.