Urban Expo 2017 DisplayBeth Mounier
Global Food Initiative Fellow

Every year, UC San Diego's Urban Expo showcases senior capstone projects of undergraduate students from Urban Studies and Planning. Their research explores a broad range of topics, including housing, food systems, community development, and the safety and welfare of citizens. The Expo is also an opportunity to invite attendees to take action. At this year's 27th annual Expo, industry professionals and university faculty gathered with students in the Price Center Ballrooms on March 16, 2017, to celebrate their research projects, which aim to build momentum toward visible change in their communities. USP student Henry Ajanel said the objective of student projects involves "looking at problems in the community and finding solutions to them. The projects reflect two quarters of work," he added, "and we hope to show why these issues are important and why we should talk about them." Ajanel's project titled "Youth Mobilization: Breaking the School to Prison Pipeline" identified how community support is important in providing resources that empower youth to become agents of change in their communities. His research shows this type of support and engagement helps students combat the high rates of expulsion or suspension in the school system for ethnic minorities.

This year Urban Studies and Planning expanded the event to bring together different university organizations. The program highlighted research that focuses on a sustainable future as well as initiatives that UC San Diego is taking to realize this goal. For example, Didra Feliz, Global Food Initiative Fellow, is working with the campus-based Roger's Garden to find better ways to compost. Garden volunteers develop ideas from the testing center and work with communities to promote bidirectional learning. One way they do this is through workshops at the Ocean View Growing Grounds, where students and community members collaborate to develop more effective composting strategies.

One highlight from the event included "Cities of the Future" models created by elementary students from the Preuss School. An interactive meme booth run by graduate students from the Communication Department also invited attendees to play with words related to urban design and food-energy-water issues.

This event was a huge success, largely due to collaboration between different organizations and departments leading the way toward a greener earth at UCSD, San Diego and beyond. Congratulations to all the students on an incredible year.