Date of this Version
In: Place, Self, Community: City as Text™ in the Twenty-First Century, Edited by Bernice Braid and Sara E. Quay. National Collegiate Honors Council, 2021.
Honors students at Elizabethtown College have used City as Text™ (CAT) strategies to address the racism they experienced in new student orientation programming, to transform volunteerism opportunities into sustained civic engagement experiences, to prepare for study abroad and study away, and to strengthen their applications for prestigious scholarships and fellowships. Their research projects have enabled them to publish scholarship informing federal, state, and local historic preservation public works projects; to improve town and gown relationships; and to partner with local stakeholders in community economic development initiatives. Drawing on City as Text pedagogy, they have introduced new courses and academic programs into our curriculum, in the process making our co-curricular programming consistent with the values, mission, and heritage of the college (Long; Braid and Long; Machonis). City as Text has proven an effective vehicle through which our honors students have demonstrated inspirational leadership: a tale of multiple success stories that have evolved from their own imaginative uses of a productive framework.
For seven decades the local tourism industry has been a major contributor to the economy of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The number of direct jobs in that industry makes tourism the county’s sixth largest private sector, non-farm category in our local economy. In 2018, some 8.85 million visitors came to Lancaster, up 2.25% from the previous year. The tourism industry highlights rural communities of the Historic Peace Churches: Amish, Mennonites, Brethren, and Quakers. Chief among these religious sects, driving local tourism, are the Amish. Lancaster’s Amish population reached 33,143 in 2018, up 3.2% from the previous year. In 1899, one of the Historic Peace Churches—the Church of the Brethren—founded Elizabethtown College. The college hosts an international center for scholarship about the Amish, Mennonites, Brethren, and Quakers. Ten miles from campus is Hershey, Pennsylvania, another prime tourist attraction. The Hershey Company funded the creation of the Elizabethtown College Honors Program in 2000. City as Text is a perfect fit for a campus located in Lancaster County, a destination where people come to explore. The campus is located within one of Lancaster County’s eighteen boroughs. These eighteenth-century small villages are perfect for exploring a local community on foot and experiencing community culture. The cities of Lancaster, Lebanon, Reading, and York introduce students to small urban experiences near campus. Easily accessible via the nearby Amtrak train station, just a mile from campus, are Harrisburg, the state capitol, just twenty miles away, and Philadelphia, the largest urban center, ninety miles away.
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