The University of Iowa

Columbus Junction Community Storytelling Project, Part 1

Columbus Junction
Academic Year 
2018-2019
College/Department 
Planning & Public Affairs
Project Partner 
Led by 

Students from the School of Urban & Regional Planning course Community Development in the Upper Midwest worked with Latinx teens in Columbus Junction's Upward Bound program to produce videos and books that help tell the 150 year story of the community through interviews and historical artifacts.

Graduate and advanced undergraduates in urban planning, the social sciences, the humanities, and the arts examined the many challenges facing small- to medium-sized towns in Iowa and elsewhere in the Upper Midwest and work towards community-based solutions.

Through a partnership with the City of Columbus Junction, the Columbus Junction, and the Upward Bound afterschool program, this course explored a planning framework that links community members’ personal connections to their home with future planning and decision-making. Central to the course is a community engagement practicum, in which students employed storytelling to tell the story of a small community in eastern Iowa. The Spring 2019 project, titled "My Sesquicentennial", incorporated oral histories and storytelling told by Latinx residents of Columbus Junction, into 5-minutes videos.