Santa Clara University


Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative (NPI)

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 Garrett Jensen

Friday, Feb. 22, 2013

My name is Garrett Jensen and I am a junior accounting major, political science minor from Portland, OR. I have had the privilege of working on this project from its inception, and have learned many lessons along the way.

In the beginning we ventured out in the neighborhood along S. 1st St. in downtown San Jose and interviewed business owners to gauge what they thought about their business and the neighborhood. From there we created databases cataloguing our findings which were then provided to the City of San Jose who is very interested and has been a great resource in our project. We created a “Map Room” of the entire area we were focusing in on by taking photos of each business and vacancy and pinning each one up on the wall in Lucas 115. It gave a great visual representation and understanding of what we had done.

During the early stages we worked closely with the local elementary school, Washington Elementary. The principal, Maria Evans, is a phenomenal asset and of course a former Santa Clara Bronco. So we began making relationships with the residents, parents, and students by volunteering at neighborhood clean ups, after school groups, reading books and playing sports with kids, and presenting at nearby neighborhood council meetings. They were all so passionate about improving their community. These actions helped legitimize what we hoped to accomplish by forming strong relations with neighborhood leaders. After collecting and organizing our findings, we spoke with both Dean Starbird and San Jose Councilman Sam Lacardo.

Most recently, I have been working on the website you see now which has been a great experience of how to create a visually welcoming site. Hopefully you all agree. The other main project surrounds the idea of writing a narrative of what we have so far and a type of ethical framework for business engagement. I have partnered with the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics to help us develop this discussion of ethical involvement in low-income neighborhoods. I am excited to get further along in both these projects and will be sure to update soon.

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