[Pictured above is the Cove Connection Project Team at the Spring 2019 Digital Poster Fair. Photo by Erica Crowley, Trinity College.]


From the thirteen proposals submitted by Hartford community partners, the Liberal Arts Action Lab has formed four research teams for Fall 2019. These project teams will focus on a diverse set of issues facing Hartford from investigating absentee landlords to increasing participation in youth sports. All students will meet together in the Action Research Methods course on Monday afternoons and also will participate in one of the four Hartford research project teams below:


Absentee Landlord Project

For community development nonprofits, real estate acquisition strategies depend on more than just location. Nonprofits must consider whether there is a healthy functioning real estate market and the costs of intervening in a healthy market. SINA’s current strategy is to buy vacant properties usually owned by public entities, such as the city of Hartford or the federal government, or property held in foreclosure by banks. A number of advocates for the neighborhood have suggested that SINA might make a greater impact if they acquired absentee-owned 2-4 family properties and turned these into owner-occupied properties. SINA is asking for research on the prevalence of small multi-family properties in targeted neighborhoods that are owned by people who do not live in the city to help them strategize about community development plans.


Day and time: Tuesday afternoons, 1:30-4:10 pm

Community Partner: Melvyn Colon, Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (SINA)

Faculty Fellow: Emily Yen, Trinity College


Youth Sports Project

Active City believes that not enough children in Hartford receive the benefits of participation in youth sports and recreation. In fact, the group believes participation in formal and even informal recreation and sports programs to be far lower than neighboring communities and to comparable cities nationally. Because of the decentralized nature of the organizations who run sports and recreation programs, there is littler formal data to help understand how the Hartford community compares to others in physical activity and participation in programs. Active City is asking for research that will help them increase participation in organized youth sports in Hartford to quantify the problem and facilitate the development of effective initiatives.


Day and time: Wednesday evenings, 6:30-9:10 pm

Community Partner: Margaret Girard, Active City

Faculty Fellow: John Michael Mason, Trinity College


Youth Homelessness Project

CT Coalition to End Homelessness has made significant inroads engaging students throughout the state in understanding their rights and the rights of their peers under McKinney-Vento, the federal legislation which functions as the homeless student’s Bill of Rights. The next challenge is to figure out how to scale the work they’ve done on a school-by-school basis throughout the state. CT Coalition to End Homelessness asks for help updating their curriculum and improving their outreach to schools about the estimated 5,000 youth who are experiencing homelessness in the state.


Day and time: Wednesday afternoons, 1:15-3:55 pm

Community Partner: Carl Asikainen, CT Coalition to End Homelessness

Faculty Fellow: Stefanie Wong, Trinity College


Hurricane Maria Project

Integrating the Puerto Rican victims of Hurricane Maria in Hartford was a long process and one that was not at all smooth. Having now settled almost all of the families, it is important to document the lessons learned. Lilly Sin Barreras asks for retrospective research on what went well and what went wrong during the relocation of refugees from Hurricane Maria to Hartford.


Day and time: Thursday afternoons, 1:30-4:10 pm

Community Partner: Lydia Herrera, Lilly Sin Barreras

Faculty Fellow: Sarah Raskin, Trinity College


Contact Action Lab Director Megan Brown for questions or to learn how to apply for the next round of Action Lab projects.

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