What We Do

a hub for Philly metro region urban change-makers providing pathways to education, renewal and resources


We create credential-bearing educational pipelines for young, emerging, and mid-career community change makers, including:

  • 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”: individuals who have the skills and knowledge to contribute as citizens, including increasing educational and political access for themselves and others. 

Click the link below for more information on the YES Program



  • Urban Community Change (RUX, pronounced "ruckus") major.  Still under development, this undergraduate major builds 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.

  • Urban Community Change (RUX) interdisciplinary master's track and independent certificate program.  Still under development, students from all disciplines in master’s or doctoral programs, or independent certificate earners as mid or early career professionals, will emerge from this cohort-based, 12-credit program with a deepened rigorous knowledge base and belief and hope in positive urban community change.


What Does Being Democratically Engaged Mean?

Our vision of democratically engaged citizens, including youth and young adults: those that have the knowledge, skills and affective resources needed to make real, substantive change both on particular issues of policy as well as within themselves and others.  Democratic engagement means rigorous knowledge of history and current material realities- local, national and international; and it means a growth mindset towards the skills needed to establish relationships, engage groups, communicate across difference, analyze power and issues, create campaigns, and move institutions through policy and governance toward greater justice and equity.  Lastly, it means having a vision of a society that promotes the equity and well-being of its citizens through just laws, systems and policies, which means - currently - having hope, courage, creativity, and openness, and the means to rejuvenate those attitudes and visions through community and connection. 


We create support and connection for urban communities, youth, young adults, and their allies, through running or incubating ad hoc and ongoing programs such as:

  • United to End Racism RUCCAS is the incubator for UER, an affiliated multi-racial peer support network for faculty, staff, students and community

  • POWER-WCU An affiliated student association which works to educate those on campus and beyond about organizing, equity and urban communities.

  • Student development: We do hands-on individualized advising for students, connecting them with the supports they need; we stay in touch with alumni, helping them move on their career paths and be part of our network; we provide campus programming as needs arise, and support students to #makeaRUCCAS on issues that matter to them.





We serve as an incubator and backbone organization for new and growing urban organizing and education collaborations. We are currently in partnership with many community organizations, listed 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.  RUCCAS is currently serving as an active incubator and collaborator with:

  • 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.  https://www.cydpphilly.org/

  • 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.  Want to check out the project?

  • Urban Education Fellowship. Just completing its third year, a project founded and run by affiliated faculty (Dr. Kathleen Riley and Dr. Katie Solic), the UEF supports undergraduates in learning hands-on alongside teacher-activists in the region.





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© 2016 by RUCCAS