Near West Collaborative
As an urban institution, IUPUI understands the value of long-term campus-community partnerships to fulfill its civic engagement mission.
Through campus-community partnerships, IUPUI achieves its mission “to develop and apply knowledge to ever-changing social issues through teaching, research, and service . . . and to serve as a model for collaboration and interdisciplinary work through partnerships with the community.
The Near Westside is an area just west of downtown Indianapolis that is rich with culture and history. Its many community assets lay the foundation for a quality-of-life plan that shows why the Near Westside is the up-and-coming place to live, work, and be in the city.
The Near Westside is home to a wealth of assets, including 19 parks and recreational areas, 41 churches of various denominations, 14 licensed child-care programs, six public schools and a private Catholic high school, two community centers, the Westside Health Center, a senior apartment complex, the Center for Working Families, several banks, a new library branch, the West District Police Department, the Westside Community Development Corporation, Goodwill Industries, many newly established restaurants and businesses, and a wide offering of social service programs. In addition, the Near Westside is surrounded by major state and national attractions, such as the White River State Park with its museums and the Indianapolis Zoo along its eastern edge. To the west are the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis International Airport. IUPUI, a major urban university with its nationally recognized medical complex, has multiple campus locations throughout the area.
In 1996 the IUPUI campus administration began conversations with community leaders from the Near Westside community to mend fences and begin discussions about the development of a long-term partnership between the campus and the community. Over the years, this partnership has developed into a strong link to this neighborhood and has been successful in helping community members to begin to see the university as an asset and as a part of the community rather than an adversary. This partnership continues to be strengthened and yields benefits for all of the partners involved.
In 1997 and 2003 the partnership received a Community Outreach Partnership Center (COPC) grant from the HUD Office of University Partnerships, which helped to diversify the variety of collaborative programs and initiatives. These have included: educational policy and programming, organizational development, economic development, health education and promotion, financial literacy, and predatory lending education. In 2007 the partnerships with Near West partners continued to evolve as the neighborhood participated in the Great Indy Neighborhoods Initiative (GINI) Quality of Life Planning work and subsequently the Sustainable Communities Initiative of LISC–Local Initiative Support Corporation Indianapolis.