Students inspire improvements to Historic Preservation project
Sep 23, 2019
Six business students from OLLU’s “Creativity and Innovative Thinking” class proposed enterprising solutions – solutions the city has begun implementing to enhance a storytelling project for its ScoutSA program through the San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation.
Six business students from OLLU’s “Creativity and Innovative Thinking” class proposed enterprising solutions – solutions the city has begun implementing to enhance a storytelling project for its ScoutSA program.
The students were participants in the 2019 CivTechSA program, a program focused on connecting students and entrepreneurs to local government challenges. CivTechSA is a partnership between Geekdom, a local co-working space, and the Office of Innovation at the City of San Antonio.
One team of OLLU students created an engaging website that rewarded users for sharing their stories about historic neighborhoods and buildings. A second OLLU team created a community service outreach. High school teachers would encourage students to visit the elderly and collect their stories at senior centers and retirement homes. Senior citizens would get welcome company, students would get community service hours and ScoutSA would get a trove of stories.
“Honestly, I was blown out of the water,” said Jenny Hay, Senior Management Analyst with the city’s Office of Historic Preservation. “The presentations were really impressive.”
Hay and colleagues from the City of San Antonio attended presentations on April 30 in a class taught by Bruce Rosenthal, PhD, Dean of OLLU’s School of Business and Leadership.
“We loved it,” Hay said. “The students captured the celebratory nature that the ScoutSA program seeks to share with the community. The visual engagement, the simplicity, the ease of use and low level of required maintenance for the website all combine to make it a very attractive option for us. We especially appreciated this website as a method for rewarding our storytellers. What a wonderful way to feature submissions from the ScoutSA Discovery survey!”
The city has commenced a redesign of the ScoutSA program website and is reaching out to schools.
“Honestly, I can't tell you what we like more about this proposal: its engagement with young people as project leaders or its respect for the stories of our community elders,” Hay said. “We plan to follow up with the teachers, schools, retirement homes and senior centers that expressed interest in this program and work towards piloting the project this fall.”
Emily Royall, Smart City Coordinator from the city’s Office of Innovation, was equally impressed.
“The presentations were very professional,” Royall said. “If the two teams came together, they could easily form a company or program based on work they’ve done. The cool thing is we get to see these issues and challenges from the student perspective, which isn’t bound by rules or regulations or politics. “They see things for what they are and come up with really creative solutions.”