Lehigh University South Side Initiative - man handing out fliersMission and Goals of the South Side Initiative

The South Side Initiative (SSI) brings together Lehigh University faculty, students and staff with the people of Bethlehem in order to share knowledge, foster democracy, and improve the quality of life in our city.

SSI rests on the proposition that the teaching and research mission of the university – and the quality of life in Bethlehem – will be enhanced by this collaboration.

SSI has two principal goals:

  • to foster the exchange of knowledge, enabling students and faculty to share specialized academic expertise with our neighbors, and enabling community members to share local forms of knowledge, historical memory, and cultural practice with those in the university.
  • to address pressing challenges in the life of the city, by creating opportunities for informed democratic deliberation and action.

SSI pursues these goals by:

  • developing courses focused on the past, present and possible futures of the city;
  • supporting working groups to conduct ongoing research;
  • sponsoring events of many kinds (including public forums, visiting lectures, film series, public art and public history projects).