DSU, DNREC to work together on community outreach

Charles MegginsonEducation, Government, Headlines

DSU DNRECDelaware State University will help the state’s environmental agency improve public outreach and community engagement with a two-year research project set to begin next month. 

The university will hold town hall meetings on Nov. 17 and Dec. 1 to solicit input from community members on how DNREC can conduct effective outreach regarding regulatory actions and policies.

The research project is funded by a $273,773 grant from DNREC and is focused specifically on engaging with underrepresented communities. 

For the purposes of this research project, DSU defines underrepresented communities as “either a group of individuals living in geographic proximity to one another or a geographically dispersed set of individuals where either type of group experiences common conditions such as low income, high and/or persistent poverty, racial, ethnic and minority residential segregation, linguistic isolation, distressed neighborhoods and disproportionate environmental stressor burden.”

DSU will research DNREC’s external communications, review feedback from stakeholders, and evaluate the needs and limitations of its current and past outreach programs to effectively reach and engage underserved communities and determine where improvements may be made.

DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin said the agency has a long tradition of transparency and public engagement, but that “we can always do better.”

The goals of the research are:

  • To improve DNREC’s ability to conduct effective outreach regarding regulatory actions and policy development;
  • To create awareness of DNREC’s processes and initiatives to underserved communities in Delaware;
  • To develop robust methods by which DNREC can provide efficient and informative community-oriented education and outreach.

Tony Allen, president of DSU, believes that the university will also benefit from the research project.

“The project will provide research assistantship and internship opportunities to undergraduate students in the University’s Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice while enhancing the outreach component of the core values of the university,” he said. 

The principal investigators of the grant are Dr. Raymond Tutu, professor and chairperson, Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice; Dr. Anwar Ouassini, associate professor, Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice; and Dr. Laurin Parker, associate professor, Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice.

Times for the Nov. 17 and Dec. 1 town halls are yet to be determined but will be published at de.gov/dnrecmeetings.

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