Meaningful Moves

The Humanity in Perspective program’s first year on Portland’s east side

Kim Nguyen

In May, the 2018–19 cohort of Humanity in Perspective (HIP) students will graduate in a ceremony at the Rosewood Initiative, where they have been meeting since September of last year. HIP is a free college humanities course for adults who do not have a college degree and face financial barriers to lifelong learning opportunities, and is provided by Oregon Humanities in partnership with Bard College and Portland State University. 

The eight-month course on philosophy, literature, US history, art and visual culture, and critical thinking and writing was held in Oregon Humanities’ downtown Portland office until this year. A new partnership with the Rosewood Initiative, a place-based nonprofit focused on building a safe, healthy, and vibrant community in Portland’s Rosewood neighborhood, brought the program to East Portland, a move aimed at removing barriers to access. 

Oregon Humanities’ program coordinator Kyle Weismann-Yee says, “More students were coming from outside the city core, so we wanted to meet potential students where they were at. We found the Rosewood Initiative was giving people a space to connect and build community in East Portland, and that seemed like a strong fit for the goals of HIP.”

The move brought the program into the neighborhood of Kimberley English, an active Rosewood community member and current HIP student. For her, the location is convenient. “Where I’m at right now, I can walk [there] in ten minutes, and it only takes me three minutes on the bus. It’s a very good location for me. There’s no way I could miss [it],” she says.

Having HIP at Rosewood also connected English with other community-building work happening at the organization. “Being in the HIP program, I had access to a lot of things at Rosewood. The other day, I went to a group for community advocates for Rosewood, and I found out I was selected to be on their panel. I’m very happy with Rosewood because being there opened doors for me,” says English.

Yoana Molina-Marcial, the director of operations at the Rosewood Initiative, is also happy with how the first year of the partnership turned out. Molina-Marcial says, “Having HIP here is bringing resources to where the need is. It’s a little door open for people to explore beyond where they are living in this moment. I feel excited about how this is going to be next year, to expand this opportunity for new community members.”

How does student Kimberley English feel about HIP coming to a close? She says, “I just fell in love with going twice a week. I wish the program was a little bit longer.”

Applications for the next class starting in fall 2019 will open in May. To learn more, click here

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