Rustin Urban Community Change AxiS (RUCCAS) is a hub providing renewal and resources for Philly metro region urban change-makers and pathways to community change careers for traditional and returning students locally, nationally, and internationally.
A sustainable hub for urban change-makers, an enduring and robust institution that authentically and mutually meets the needs of multiple WCU entities and Philadelphia neighborhoods and organizations, where a deeply multiracial and cross-class alliance of youth and adults with a multiplicity of professional expertise and live experience engage in practices to further develop their own and each other's abilities to leverage assets and resources in and outside the community to cultivate security and vibrancy, trust and relationship, and equity and power.
To support the building of power for Southeastern PA metropolitan communities, specifically but not exclusively global majority/communities of color and low-income urban communities, through providing together new and mid-career urban community change professionals -- particularly urban youth workers, artists, and cross-sector racial and economic justice workers -- credential-bearing educational pathways and supportive, healing spaces and opportunities for renewal.
We create credential-bearing educational pipelines for young, emerging, and mid-career community change-makers, including:
- Urban Community Change (RUX, pronounced "ruckus") major: The courses for this newly-approved 39-credit interdisciplinary undergraduate major build students’ knowledge, skills, commitment, and vision concerning community and social change, preparing them for jobs or further education in this field or in cross-sector professions that value these competencies. Learn more about course listings.
- Youth Empowerment & Urban Studies (YES): An 18-credit interdisciplinary, place-based academic minor for students in any major. The mission of YES is to amplify through study and action a critical understanding of the role youth can play in social change. The overall goals of the YES program are to contribute to making real community-based change in our local urban areas, especially the City of Philadelphia, and to develop “change-makers,” or individuals who have the skills and knowledge to contribute as citizens, including increasing educational and political access for themselves and others.
Renewal and Resources
We serve as an incubator and backbone organization for new and growing urban organizing and education collaborations. We work in partnership with many community organizations, our current list is here, where our students serve as interns and learn beside professionals in the field. Partner organizations can access university resources such as space, expertise and networks. Currently, RUCCAS serves as an active incubator and collaborator with renewal, support, advocacy and direct service organizations including:
- United to End Racism: RUCCAS is the incubator for a local affiliate of UER, which serves as a multi-racial peer support network for faculty, staff, students and community.
- Center for Youth Development Professionals: CYPD was founded to fill a significant gap in the region: support and rigorous professional development for out-of-school-time professionals.
- iCAMP: Kicked off in summer 2017, DeCoding the World through Media (AKA iCamp) was founded by one of our affiliated faculty (Dr. Laquana Cooke), which brought Philadelphia youth interested in media and social justice to campus for one week, supported and taught by multiple units on campus.
WHO ARE RUCCAS STUDENTS AND WHAT DO THEY DO AFTER GRADUATION?
- …are leaders on campus, founding organizations such as 12+-WCU, ALL-U (Antiracist Liberation & Learning Union), and within student organizations and units on campus.
- …present at conferences with us such as at the Teaching for Change 2022 Conference, the 2017 Free Minds, Free People Conference or the Community Learning Partnership Convening in 2018.
- …are asked about their major or minor in grad school interviews, and it always helps them
- …are in high demand for prestigious Americorps and other fellowships, with organizations like City Year, YouthBuild, PHENND, or the Urban Teacher Fellowship at Johns Hopkins. These fellowships build resumes and connections and turn into jobs, including leadership positions.
- …stay in the region, network with each other and our partners, and have obtained jobs at:
- …go on to found entrepreneurial projects, such as The Good Worx, or podcasts such as Pushing The Culture With R&R
Community Learning Partnership
We are affiliated with the national CLP organization whose mission is to contribute to progressive community and social change by expanding the credentialed workforce of knowledgeable and skilled leaders and organizers coming from low-income communities and communities of color. The CLP Network prepares people directly impacted by poverty and racism to enter careers where they can address injustice and inequality and improve the quality of life in their communities.