Instead of making students come to school, the University of the District of Columbia has started taking some of its courses to students.
As part of a special program, UDC has been conducting since January day and night, credit and non-credit courses in Anacostia, said Charles Williams, director of the UDC Anacostia Project.
The courses range from one-day or two-day workshops on subjects such as stregthening the black family, hypertension, aging and people abuse to longer courses focusing on subjects such as basic writing skills and food and nutrition.
The classes are held in three public schools in Anacostia - Frienship Community School, Washington Highlands Community School and Johnson Junior High School. Free babysitting services are provided for students who need them. The program, which is funded with a $25.000 grant from the university, has three professional staff members. Williams said five more courses are expected to be added after the first of the year.
Williams said the program began after UDC conducted door-to-door surveys to determine courses people needed and wanted, and new workshops and courses are added based on surveys and the advice of an advisory committee. Since the program started there have been 75 students taking courses for credit and 30 students taking non-credit courses in addition to the 25 to 150 persons attending each workshop.
He said that normally people would have to go through the formal application and acceptance process to become a student at the university and would have to follow a prescribed course of study. However, he added, that does not take into consideration the needs of people who find it difficult to get to the Van Ness campus.
William said many parts of the projects have focused on reaching people who need to upgrade skills in writing, supervision and proposal writing.
Vivien Cunningham, chairman of the project advisory committee, said the committee has asked the university to bring more of its degree programs to Anacostia.
"Up to now, anytime we have wanted anything, we have had to go outside the community to get it. Now we want the university to bring more of its activities and its skills out here," she said. "We would even like to see the university build out here."
UDC president Lisle Carter said Cunningham's suggestion may be possible in the future.
"Right now our plans are to continue to build our Van Ness campus and to develop a downtown campus at Mt. Vernon Square," he said, " Beyond that, our board of directors is looking at other expansion plans. We may very well have a satellite campus in Anacostia in the future.
"I expect to be meeting with people in all parts of the city to find out what their needs are and how the university can help them meet their perceived needs."