Community Leadership

teresa-oWhen she first connected with UNP, Teresa Organista was running a club called Club Quetzalcoatl out of her house, helping Latin@ students and parents connect with higher education. Teresa applied to and received a scholarship from UNP for some of her youth to attend a summer program at the University of Utah. Soon after, she and her husband Mario enrolled in the Startup Incubator through UNP, which supported them in turning their club into a 501c3 nonprofit organization, Casa Quetzalcoatl. Teresa went on to take part in the West Side Leadership Institute and the Community Leadership in Education course, the latter of which led to her running a transportation safety campaign at West High School. In 2016, Teresa ran for a position on the Salt Lake City School Board, receiving 48.7% of the vote. She continues to be an active and well respected leader across the west side.

Community Leadership partnerships support west side residents as they strengthen their leadership and organizing skills, insert their voices into decision-making that affects their neighborhoods, and catalyze positive change in their communities. These partnerships address the need for diverse voices in local decision making and are based on the belief that effective problem-solving comes from having many stakeholders and viewpoints around the table. These partnerships offer opportunities for university and community partners to work together on civic engagement and participation. Long-term goals include:

  • Individual capacity building: Provide residents with opportunities to strengthen and practice leadership skills
  • Organizational capacity building: Enhance resident capacity to organize others around issues they care about
  • System change: Connect residents with decision-making positions through which they can begin to change the systems that effect their lives.

See below for examples of active UNP-supported partnerships.

Community Leadership in Education

The Community Leadership in Education Course is a comprehensive, certificate-based training for parents with students in the Salt Lake City School District. The program consists of ten weekly training sessions that create a community of 20+ parent leaders who are engaged in building collaborative school-based projects that strengthen their school communities. Through the course, an individual learns how local schools function and what they can do to help their child succeed, building tools and skills they can share with other members of their communities. The course is a partnership between the University of Utah, the Salt Lake City School District, A Capital City Education, and community leaders.

Westside Leadership Institute (WLI)

The WLI supports the development of west side resident leaders as catalysts for positive change in their communities. WLI offers leadership courses taught by University faculty and community leaders, and connects west side residents to local decision-making bodies, funding sources, and further support. Our goal is to equip citizens to take civic action in their communities, while providing learning opportunities for University faculty and students. The WLI was launched in 2004, through the efforts of UNP, NeighborWorks Salt Lake, and Salt Lake Weed and Seed. CLICK HERE for a video of graduate Kyle LaMalfa sharing his story about WLI, or CLICK HERE for the WLI Impact Map.

APPLY NOW for the fall 2017 English WLI course.


Resident Committee

The resident committee is made up of local residents who have been identified as leaders in the neighborhood and are committed to enhancing the community in which they live. The Resident Committee has many vital roles, primarily serving as a liaison and advocate for bringing the Center and the community into partnership. The Resident Committee also serve as advocates by talking with residents regarding their strengths, resources, and needs. They also help to identify means and partnerships for ensuring that classes are culturally appropriate and in line with the community’s mission along with regularly attending partnership and steering committee meetings to help guide UNP’s mission.

Westside Studio

The Westside Studio brings together the College of Architecture + Planning at the University of Utah with NeighborWorks Salt Lake, the City of Salt Lake, local residents, and other stakeholders, to identify assets in west side neighborhoods, develop proposals for building upon these assets, and work toward implementing the proposals through collaborative envisioning, advocating, and demonstrating with the goal of enhancing the vitality and vibrancy of west side communities. Each year the Studio selects projects related to community development, urban design, economic development, green infrastructure, and/or arts & culture. The Studio emphasizes the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders from governmental agencies to neighborhood groups and individuals.