Date of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science and Urban Studies

First Advisor

Abigail Fisher Williamson


For the people who live in communities surrounding colleges and universities, does community engagement materially improve their lives? Does it help them to advance their goals? Are higher education institutions even aware of neighborhood needs and wants? Without hearing from neighbors, is higher education community engagement serving its purpose? This thesis aims to understand the current landscape of higher education community engagement and evaluate the extent to which small, selective liberal arts institutions in urban settings understand, communicate with, and uplift the goals of their immediate neighbors. This thesis will discuss Trinity College in comparison to nine similar urban engaged colleges. While most small liberal arts colleges can be found in homogeneous, rural environments, Trinity, located in Hartford, Connecticut, is a predominantly white institution in a city comprised of 85% residents of color. The relationship between Trinity and Hartford allows us to understand the potential and challenges of higher education community engagement amid diversity and inequality, offering recommendations for other urban higher education institutions and the cities in which they reside.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College, Hartford CT for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Urban Studies.