|Dr. O.E. Ben Lukongo speaks to St. Landry Parish residents during a Sept. 19 focus group meeting at SARDI in Opelousas, La. The event was held to find ways to support economic development within the parish.|
Baton Rouge, La. – The Southern University Land-Grant Campus (SULGC) hosted a community focus group at the Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development Institute (SARDI) office in Opelousas, La. on September 19, 2017.
The event was held to uncover a range of ideas, insights, and solutions to support economic development in St. Landry Parish. This new community engagement project was developed to improve the quality of life for parish residents and strengthen the relationship of the Land-Grant Campus with stakeholders within the community.
Stakeholders within the parish participated in the focus group to share ideas, stories, experiences, and input; while discussing and co-creating the future vision for the community. Participants began by collectively answering questions on a focus group questionnaire titled, “Integrating Methods of Economic Development Analyses for Economically Distressed Communities in Louisiana.” After completing the questionnaire, the participants were then separated into four smaller groups and collaborated with university representatives to discuss ways to improve the community, identify issues, and discuss alternative solutions, plans, resources and assets needed to better the community.
The focus group was comprised of elected officials, clergy, teachers (current and retired), medical professionals, youth, and others who serve the community in various capacities. SARDI’s office serves as the headquarters for this new framework of University-Community Engagement.
The planning of the focus group discussion was arranged by Dr. O.E. Ben Lukongo, Project Director; Dr. Tiffany Wilkerson-Franklin, Co-Project Director; Dr. Kenyetta Nelson-Smith, Co-Project Director; Antonio Harris, Director of SARDI and SARDI’s staff.
The SULGC research team will go back to present the results of the focus group discussions to the St. Landry Parish economic development stakeholders.
For additional information on how you can assist in the implementation and execution of future focus groups, please contact Drs. Lukongo, Wilkerson-Franklin or Nelson-Smith at 225-771-2242.
The Southern University Ag Center and the Southern University College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences together are called the Southern University Agricultural Land-Grant Campus.