UTSA partners with Westside community


SGA representatives discuss future plans with students. photo by Ellyson Ortega

Kaylee Boggan

UTSA, in partnership with San Antonio’s Westside community, held the grand opening of the Westside Community Center (WCC) on Sept. 14 in the historic Heroes Building in the Villa Guadalupe neighborhood of San Antonio. The WCC aims to create community relationships with Westside residents and business owners.

UTSA is exploring several potential programs and services at its new community center, including after-school tutoring, college admissions advising and preparation.

“As an urban-serving university, UTSA is committed to deepening our relationships with all areas of San Antonio – particularly those that have been historically underserved. We’re starting with a focus on the Westside in light of its proximity to our Downtown Campus,” UTSA President Taylor Eighmy said.

“This initiative is very much a draft, and we’re actively seeking community input. It serves as an invitation for Westside organizations to collaborate with UTSA, and we’re looking forward to continuing to shape this effort together with new and existing partners,” Eighmy said.

Implementation of the initiative is planned for next fall. Joe Izbrand, associate vice president for communications and marketing and chief communications officer, explains the desire to increase the number of Westside students at UTSA by giving them an opportunity for the future.

“This is a chance for the future of the Westside community,” Izbrand said. “We want the young children at the neighboring schools to see the UTSA students as role models. When they see all that the others who came before them accomplished, it will inspire them to follow the path of success that they did.”

The Task Force on Creating Pathways to Educational Excellence will explore and establish UTSA enrollment pathways for Westside youth, as well as continuing education and professional development opportunities for adults. The group will integrate efforts among university faculty and K-12 school leadership by transforming them into the right policy.

The Community-Based Research, Sustainable Partnerships and Advocacy Task Force will provide efforts to inform the public about issues such as housing displacement, historical preservation, access to higher education and social service challenges by working closely with the residents and community leaders.