13:02 PM

Interact to Innovate Series Deliberating Healthy Communities


By Cynthia Gonzales

Students working at round tableSince January, the UHD Center for Public Deliberation and the Center for Urban Agriculture & Sustainability have been hosting a semester-long series of interactive deliberations and innovative action sessions to help create healthy communities.

The series, “Interact-to-Innovate to Build a Healthier Community, What We Can Do to Make and Keep Our Community Healthy, Strong, and Vibrant?” takes place from 1 to 2:15 p.m. every Tuesday.

The goal is to have faculty, students and members of the community analyze and discuss a problem from various perspectives and then move to action, said Dr. Windy Lawrence, associate professor of communication studies.

"We are pioneering a high-impact curriculum that is focused on working across all of the disciplines in the University to foster active civic agents," said Lawrence.

Topics that will be covered this semester include: engery, agriculture and food security, biodiversity, poverty, and sustainable cities and the role of inclusion, acccording Dr. Lisa Morano, director of CUAS and associate professor of biology and microbiology. Both professors are collaborating on the series this semester.

UHD benefits from higher retention rates when students form relationships with staff, administrators, other faculty, and community members outside of their courses.

UHD Senior Ashley Carrera, who is new to sunstanabilty this semester, has found the experience very rewarding.

"It's actually been incredibly encouraging and wanting to hurry up and find ways to incorporate susstainability into people's everyday lives," Carrera said.

Anyone can be a part of helping create healthier communities while simultaneously creating unforgettable relationships and experiences.

If you know of individuals or entities external to UHD who may be interested, contact
Dr. Windy Lawrence.


About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.