Drexel University and Canon Solutions America Promote Literacy and Life Skills
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Collaborating to enhance creative written expression and social impact in the West Philadelphia community
MELVILLE, N.Y. - Canon Solutions America, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Canon U.S.A., Inc., and Drexel University today announced the launch of TRIPODat Writers Room: people, places,portraits. Drexel and Canon Solutions America teamed up to create a unique, scalable, replicable, and measurable model for written and creative expression in underserved communities. This program, initiated by Canon Solutions America's Enterprise Managed Services Division, the current managed services program provider at the university, is designed to increase literacy and life skills for all participants.
TRIPOD at Writers Room combines photography and writing in a compelling format that is capable of producing the individual and social impact outcomes that distinguish Drexel's involvement in West Philadelphia. Building on the success of Writers Room—a College of Arts and Sciences initiative within the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships, an urban extension center in West Philadelphia's "Promise Zone"—this exciting initiative will continue fostering authentic relationships between people from diverse backgrounds, incorporating Drexel students, faculty, staff, and neighbors young and old. This includes teenage students in Philadelphia from the highly acclaimed Mighty Writers.
"The College of Arts and Sciences encourages Drexel students and community members to learn and grow together, which not only cultivates valuable relationships, but also demonstrates that diverse perspectives strengthen and enrich our understanding of the world," says Donna Murasko, PhD, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Prior workshops at Writers Room have used photographs as a vehicle to facilitate written expression with select transformative results, but never before has there been an opportunity to explore photography as an independent form of expression.
"TRIPOD at Writers Room is designed to confront, explore, and embrace imaginative approaches to documenting, archiving, reporting, and responding to the past, present, and ongoing changes in our shared community from multiple and diverse perspectives. This combination has the potential to generate profound intergenerational and diverse social-economic learning," says Rachel Wenrick, associate teaching professor of English and director of Writers Room.
TRIPOD will involve small teams (triads), consisting of a community member from Writers Room, a high school student from Mighty Writers, and a Drexel undergraduate, who will meet bi-monthly to develop projects and independent work facilitated by Writers Room faculty over a nine-month period. They will begin the program with a weekend workshop facilitated by Canon's Imaging Technology Consumer Group to get basic camera instruction and photography fundamentals that focus on the intersection of writing and photography as expressive media tools. With this unified collaboration between multiple Canon divisions for the benefit of Drexel's community enrichment program, the organization is once more establishing its commitment to finding unique ways to support its valued customers.
Khalia Robinson, program director of Mighty Writers West offers, "Experience is the best teacher. With partnerships like what we're doing with Drexel's Writers Room and Canon, the children have an opportunity to experience things that may never have had access to."
The participants are also encouraged to join Writers Room's regular monthly workshops to provide additional points of engagement and spread awareness for these projects throughout the community. At the culmination of Drexel's Spring Term, a reading and reception featuring the work of these triads will be held at the Dornsife Center to celebrate this work and its fruition.
"Consistent with the One Drexel – One Canon mission, this program is a wonderful way to create trust between the neighborhood and the university. Canon is proud to strengthen and broaden the photography component of the program, as we continue to look for ways to support Drexel in their efforts to develop a curriculum and a shared set of outcomes," said Valerie Belli, Vice President, Enterprise Managed Services Division, Canon Solutions America.