UNT Dallas is proud to host the AmeriCorps VISTA team on campus for the 2016-2017 academic year. An official welcome reception was held on campus in their honor September 20, 2016. Dallas Mayor and other city officials were in attendance.

The 10-member team, led by Ryan Behring, is working closely with Dr. Larry Terry, director of the Urban SERCH Institute to build capacity and strategically plan events to better their neighborhoods.

“We are proud to have the VISTAs on campus this year as a part of the SERCH Institute. They will be a key component of our service pillar, and are going to be interacting with many of the university’s neighboring communities through a wide variety of capacity building projects,” Terry said. “With the institute being so new, the VISTAs are important because they will be a symbol of what we hope to accomplish moving forward.”  

This project began with a partnership among the Americorps VISTAs, the City of Dallas, growSouth, and the UNT Dallas SERCH Institute based on an integrated vision for southern sector development. The UNT Dallas SERCH Institute provides the VISTAs home base on campus, and are developing them professionally through a wide variety of monthly trainings to give them the tools they need to succeed in the community. This includes restorative practices to help neighborhood association meetings more effective to citizen engagement strategies. Terry aims to put the VISTAs in the best position to succeed in their respective neighborhoods. The VISTAs are also connecting with students, faculty, staff and other members of the campus community to give them the human capital needed to make sure their events are successful, including two community service days focused on southern Dallas neighborhoods October 15 and 22.

For more information on the VISTAs and how to get involved, email Larry.Terry@untdallas.edu.