City partners with College of Public Policy
After more than a year of collaboration, the College of Public Policy at UTSA and the City of San Antonio have officially teamed up to make Mayor Julian Castro's SA2020 vision a reality.
The college was named the lead partner of the SA2020 Government Accountability and Civic Engagement focus area, one of 11 areas outlined in Castro's plan to transform San Antonio into a world-class city over the next eight years. As a lead partner, UTSA will guide other organizations in taking action for SA2020 as well as pursue its own projects, such as voter registration drives and leadership training.
"We will encourage citizens who are not normally involved in civic activities to run for office," said Francine Romero, COPP associate dean. "It's about civic engagement, to get more people empowered and get them to do more in their own communities."
COPP has supported the SA2020 effort for many months. In April 2011, the college hosted a Great Cities Dialogue to foster discussion on how to increase and improve civic engagement and government accountability in San Antonio.
UTSA's students also will play a significant role. Graduate students majoring in social work led the effort to draft a Citizen's Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. At the second Great Cities Dialogue in December, the students presented the document, which aims to improve citizen-government relations, outlines the expectations San Antonio citizens have of their government and the responsibilities they expect to have in return.
"Most of our efforts involve students," Romero said. "It's SA2020. They will be the ones in charge at that point."
By 2020, San Antonio expects its citizens will become deeply engaged as elected leaders, business leaders, volunteers and voters in the process of making government more responsible and accountable. In doing so, the City of San Antonio expects to experience an increase in:
- voter turnout
- participation and diversity of city boards
- the number of graduates in leadership programs
- the number of community and neighborhood associations
- the amount of media coverage on public policy issues
- the number of candidates running for City Council
"We are pleased to be a recognized leader in the area of Government Accountability and Civic Engagement, and we look forward to making a significant and long-lasting impact that will support the transformation of San Antonio," Romero said.