Eva Dickerson, a third year student at Spelman College, is a student leader active in addressing issues of responsible, resident centered, community development. For the last two years Eva has worked closely with grassroots efforts to advocate for the rights of current Westside residents, including efforts to mobilize residents in surrounding communities to support the passing of a community benefits agreement that would guarantee current residents receive specific amenities and/or mitigations as new development takes place. She is currently working with local residents and her fellow students to explore possibilities for creating a series of community tours that will introduce Spelman College students to the history of the Westside and to current businesses that would benefit from increased patronage of Spelman students. In addition to her work organizing around resident retention, Eva has also served as an advisor to me as president of Spelman. She is actively partnering with College administration to help us provide fresh produce to neighborhood residents by establishing a farmer's market on campus which will be open to local residents.
When I moved to Atlanta, I knew I was embarking on a journey, but nothing could have prepared me for the fullness this work has brought my soul. Since coming here in 2015 for school, I have been exposed to a completely transformative world of young leaders and change agents who let their love for the people around them motivate them to create change. These young leaders have inspired me to use my platforms on campus to convene students, community members, and school officials at the same table, so that together we can design innovative solutions to the problems of blight and underdevelopment that plague our neighborhood. Working with other change agents on campus, we have developed educational and engaging programming that motivates students to explore the neighborhoods that surround our school. It is our hope that through this exploration, students will develop the same level of love, respect and responsibility I feel for the city of Atlanta.