CitySquare project wins Design for Change award

Posted June 20, 2014

Four ACU students living at CitySquare in Dallas teamed up with a group of 
fifth-graders to improve their south Dallas neighborhood and in the process 
helped the school win a national Design for Change award.

Design for Change is a global organization 
whose mission is to empower children to express their own ideas for a 
better world and put them into action through a project-based learning 

The fifth-graders at Charles Rice Learning Center decided to take on the 
problem of “trap” houses or drug houses in their neighborhood. The project 
involved working with local law enforcement officers, city officials and 
officers of the Federal Bureau Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms to find ways to 
shut the “trap” houses down.

The project is one of two national winners selected to represent the United 
States at the 2014 Be the Change Conference. In September, five of the 26 
Charles Rice students and their ACU mentors will travel to Ahmedabad, 
India, for the conference.

The ACU students – Bethany Richardson, Molly Clemans, Alan Songer and 
Nicole Ramos – are part of the university's justice and urban studies 
program. Students in the program spend their sophomore year living and 
studying at CitySquare, a 
nonprofit organization that aims to fight the causes of poverty in Dallas 
by offering food, medicine, housing and counseling to those in need.

In all, the ACU group worked with 218 Dallas students, including those at 
the Charles Rice Center, to complete 13 different projects targeted at 
making the neighborhoods better places to live.

“We are proud of the work being done in south Dallas,” said Dr. Michael 
Harbour, executive administrative director of ACU’s Honors College, which 
oversees the justice and urban studies team. “These elementary students 
have great ideas and great courage. They believe in their ability to change 
their own neighborhood and their own community. Their voice is being heard 
nationally and around the world.”

ACU’s partnership with CitySquare allows its students to work directly with 
Dallas residents learning skills valuable to their degrees.

“All nine of our justice and urban studies team members have had a great 
and transformative year in Dallas,” Harbour said.

Learn more about CitySquare

Learn more about Design for Change


Vision in Action

Watch the video above to witness the future of Abilene Christian University taking shape.

Learn more 

Connect with ACU