December, 2011Graduate students majoring in Social Work at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) College of Public Policy will present a newly drafted Citizens’ Bill of Rights and Responsibilities at the Great Cities Dialogue on Saturday, Dec. 10. The project, dubbed “My City, My Voice,” supports Mayor Julián Castro’s SA 2020 initiative to transform San Antonio into a world-class city with its traditional, small town feel by the year 2020.
The Citizens’ Bill of Rights and Responsibilities emerged from two public meetings hosted earlier this year by the UTSA College of Public Policy on the Government Accountability/Civic Engagement element of the SA 2020 plan, in which citizens endorsed the concept as an effective means of building public engagement and trust.
“Generally, the citizens of a community have a good idea of what they expect their local government to do for them, but they are often not afforded the opportunity to share that information with government officials,” said Robert Ambrosino, a senior lecturer in the UTSA College of Public Policy. Ambrosino teaches the UTSA Advanced Communities course which is conducting the Bill of Rights research. “The Citizens’ Bill of Rights and Responsibilities provides that opportunity.”
Since the start of the fall 2011 semester, UTSA graduate social work students have reached out to San Antonio citizens and citizen groups to gain an understanding of how those individuals articulate their rights and responsibilities as citizens of the community. Following the discussions, the students reviewed their findings, whittling down the information into a series of key messages. Using those overarching messages, they drafted a Bill of Rights and Responsibilities representing the voices from a broad cross-section of San Antonio citizens.
“In the Department of Social Work, we are equipping our students with the tools they need to improve society,” said Ambrosino. “With a SA 2020 Vision Area focused on improving citizen-government relations, this project was a great opportunity. It offered our students a transformative learning experience outside the classroom.”
The Great Cities Dialogue is free and open to the public and is scheduled from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. in Buena Vista Street Building Room 1.338 at the UTSA Downtown Campus. The event begins with registration from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., followed by a presentation/panel discussion from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
To learn more about UTSA’s My City, My Voice project, contact UTSA Professor Robert Ambrosino at 210-458-2026 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about SA 2020, visit http://sa2020.org.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is one of the fastest growing higher education institutions in Texas and one of nine academic universities and six health institutions in the UT System. As a multicultural institution, UTSA aims to be a national research university providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
UTSA serves nearly 31,000 students in 135 degree programs in the colleges of Architecture, Business, Education and Human Development, Engineering, Honors, Liberal and Fine Arts, Public Policy, Sciences and Graduate School. Founded in 1969, UTSA is an intellectual and creative resource center and a socioeconomic development catalyst for Texas and beyond. For more information, visit www.utsa.edu/today.