Principia College’s neighboring city of Alton is a frequent stop for students, faculty, and visitors traveling to and from the campus. In recent years, there has been an effort to reenergize the town, from the establishment of new coffee shops to winning a spot on a reality TV show giving small businesses a makeover. Now, Lupton Center, a consulting firm out of Atlanta, Georgia, has partnered with the town to address remaining challenges. A team of Principia staff and faculty has joined in as part of Lupton Center’s Alton City Shapers cohort.
The Alton City Shapers project is a two-year commitment to engage with local leaders, businesses, and nonprofits in community development—assessing challenge areas and sustainable solutions. Approximately 20 teams have joined the effort, including Alton City Hall, The Salvation Army, and local nonprofits. The project received a boost this summer from the Midwest Series of Lockton Companies, LLC, when $10,000 was contributed to the solutions that the Alton City Shapers project identifies.
Dr. Sarah Andrews, political science and global studies professor, leads the Principia team which is focused on issues of poverty within the Alton neighborhoods of Hunterstown and Mexico. The team, including Business Administration and Economics Professor Matthew Cocks, Career and Service Learning Manager Monica Semnacher, and recent-graduate Cassidy Proctor, spent the past year gathering information and assessing challenges. This year, the team will be joined by students Boone Steele and Alphince Baraza and will spend the following year identifying and implementing solutions.