Public invited to participate in poverty-reduction effort

Contact: Jeanne Baron

KALAMAZOO—Western Michigan University will offer a free five-week seminar in January and February that is designed to help reduce poverty in Kalamazoo County.

Members of the public are invited to attend the "A Call to Action: Poverty Reduction in Kalamazoo County" seminar and learn about the problems associated with poverty in the community and how they can aid in reducing the disproportionate number of residents who live at or below the poverty level.

All five seminar classes will feature a moderator and panel of experts who will address a particular topic. They will be presented from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays from Jan. 28 to Feb. 25 in 4010 Health and Human Services Building. Registration is required.

Class topics and moderators

  • Jan. 28—Education, Dr. Betty Dennis, WMU associate dean of Extended University Programs.
  • Feb. 4—Income security, Barbara Young, a past director of the Kalamazoo County Community Action Agency, vice president of the Kalamazoo County Poverty-Reduction Initiative and a consultant for WMU's new University-Community Empowerment Center.
  • Feb. 11—Affordable housing, Dr. Ronald Crowell, a WMU professor emeritus of teaching, learning and educational studies.
  • Feb. 18—Mental and physical health, Dr. Gillian Stoltman, a former director of the Division of Communicable Disease and Immunization at the Michigan Department of Community Health.
  • Feb. 25—Legal issues and criminal justice, Teresa Bingman, interim director of the University-Community Empowerment Center.

Organizers and special lecture

"A Call to Action" is a collaboration between the new University-Community Empowerment Center at WMU, established in September 2013 by the College of Health and Human Services, and the Academy of Lifelong Learning, a member-run organization administered by WMU's Extended University Programs.

The program will culminate in March, when a nationally known speaker yet to be announced will present a related public lecture. That presentation will be offered as part of the Bill Burian University-Community Lecture Series organized by the College of Health and Human Services.

Registration and parking

Those interested in attending "A Call to Action" may register through the Academy of Lifelong Learning, which is including this seminar in its spring schedule of courses.

The Health and Human Services Building is located off of Oakland Drive next to the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital. Free parking for the seminar will be available nearby in WMU Parking Lot No. 104. For directions to campus or a WMU parking map, visit

To register or obtain a complete list of participating panel members, visit or call (269) 387-4200.

Direct questions to Teresa Bingman, interim director of the University-Community Empowerment Center, at or (269) 387-8881.