Recent work on the EfS project has revolved around the distribution and analysis of a student survey. This survey looked to solicit Frankford students’ voices by defining how they view their respective communities in relation to their environments. Some examples of survey questions include:
- How do you think the environment relates to your home and neighborhood? (¿Cómo cree que se relaciona el medio ambiente con su hogar y su vecindario?)
- Are there parts of your home and/or neighborhood that struggle with problems related to the environment? (ex. flooding, litter, smog, lack of trees, etc.) (¿Hay partes de su hogar y/o vecindario que luchan con problemas relacionados con el medio ambiente? (por ejemplo, inundaciones, basura, smog, falta de árboles, etc.))
- Are you currently involved with any community groups/organizations? If so, please list them below. (¿Está actualmente involucrado con algún grupo u organización comunitaria? Si es así, enumérelos a continuación.)
Student engagement with the questionnaire was far higher than previously anticipated, with (at the time of writing) over 100 total responses. Considering the high turnout of the survey, efforts at finding more solidified community partnerships and sites for student internships will be easier going forward, given the clarity that these crucial viewpoints afford. Current contenders for community partnerships include The Friends of Overington Park and The Horticultural society, as students plan to use these organizations to address issues of trash/litter in the communities, in addition to potential gardening and re-planting efforts. Students have also expressed a desire for a more unified school community, an idea that has the potential to be fulfilled by the addition of an outdoor communing space on Frankford High School’s campus. This space is to be decorated with repurposed cable reels that are adorned with mosaic tiles from Mr. Berrier’s Ceramics class, effectively used to create new meeting tables.
Main takeaways from student responses include a desire for more greenspaces in their communities, as well as litter clean-ups and decreased smog and flooding events. Other common responses that center more on the topics of social and restorative justices include distress due to homelessness, food insecurity, high-violence rates, lack of proper transportation, and drug addiction & accessibility in their communities.
That being said, not all students who responded to the survey chose to disclose the information prompted in the listed questions, with many free responses including blankpaces, ‘key-smashes’, or (my personal favorite) just the word “Amazing!”. Regardless of response type, assessing and highlighting all student voices and choices at this point in the project is critical, as it is the key driver in creating meaningful changes in relevant areas of our student’s lives. Confronting the fact that some students do not have the free time or headspace to balance this project with their personal and academic lives is important, as we are navigating the world amidst a global pandemic- the stresssors that students have been enduring for the past two years cannot be understated.
In the coming weeks, I will be synthesizing data from survey responses into a visual infographic for more streamlined interpretation for future work on this project. Additionally, I am looking forward to utilizing the viewpoints and opinions of students to more concretely communicate with relevant community partners and solidify summer internship plans for students.