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Lehigh is invested in lending vibrancy and stability to the neighborhood. Successfully transformed neighborhoods boast a rich intellectual and cultural climate and offer a comfortable environment for students, employees and residents alike.
The South Bethlehem Greenway has transformed a narrow trail of railroad tracks that once divided South Bethlehem into a scenic linear park and paved path which links neighborhoods within the business district, paralleling Rte. 412 from New Street to the Skate Plaza off Steel Ave. Eventually the trail will run more than three miles between Union Station and Saucon Park in Hellertown.
Community Gardens and Urban Agriculture
Students and faculty involved in the South Side Initiative are improving access to fresh fruits and vegetables by providing local residents and members of the Lehigh community with convenient, inexpensive plots of land for gardening. One example is the Esperanza Garden along the Greenway, which is a student-driven project planned by the Community Leaders Initiative for Permaculture to celebrate the importance of fresh, local food.
Lehigh students who take part in Service Learning Projects are placed into teams and then paired with a local community agency to work on a project which benefits the community members targeted by that agency. Examples include working at food banks, creating educational and wellness programs, tutoring, historical preservation and more.
Community Fellows Program
Lehigh graduate students in the Community Fellows Program further their academic interests while bringing needed expertise and assistance to community programs throughout the Lehigh Valley. Community Fellows are matched with a partner agency that allows them to integrate social activism into the academic setting by collecting and analyzing data, coordinating and promoting events, creating curricula and more.
Zoellner Arts Center
The home of Lehigh’s Arts, Theater & Music departments is a strong community partner, having longstanding relationships with the Ballet Guild of the Lehigh Valley, the Bach Choir of Bethlehem, and Touchstone Theater’s Young Playwrights Festival. A number of special events are held at Zoellner, including “Monday Morning School Matinees” for over 2,000 elementary and middle-school students and sensory friendly adapted shows for children who range in ability from completely wheelchair bound to fully adaptable.
community not-for-profit and governmental organizations have been served by the Community Fellows Program
Lehigh students participated in volunteer programs in 2014-15
Holiday Hope Chest boxes of presents collected for local families at the holidays in 2015
local schoolchildren attend at least one complimentary event at the Zoellner Arts Center every year
South Bethlehem children participated in a community service program during the 2011-12 academic year