Urban Plunge

Students Will:

  • Immerse themselves overnight in a vibrant, urban community
  • Discuss and reflect on issues of homelessness, privilege, and oppression
  • Discover Over-the-Rhine's long-standing tradition of artistic expression and architectural beauty
  • Engage with community organizers
  • Volunteer with local non-profit organizations

What an Urban Plunge is Like

The Urban Plunge is a 24-hour experience that allows students to see and serve.  The Over-the-Rhine (a Cincinnati neighborhood) Urban Plunge introduces Miami students to race and class disparity and encourages them to work constructively through these issues by becoming active in their community. Students also gain an appreciation for the vibrant community that exists in Over-the-Rhine, particularly the tradition of architectural beauty and artistic expression. Participating students tour the neighborhood, serve food in a homeless shelter, work on low-income housing rehabilitation and meet with community organizers and residents.

Earlier this semester, 10 students participated in the first Urban Plunge of the year.  After traveling by van to Over the Rhine, we took a walking tour of the neighborhood, learning about OTR’s history.  They then we had dinner with a member of the Speaker’s Bureau of the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless.  He recounted his experience of moving in and out of homelessness and reflected on some of his struggles.   The group then retired for the night, reflecting on our reactions to what we had seen and heard and engaged in an introspective look at what values, norms, and biases we bring with us.

On Saturday morning, after a breakfast of coffee and homemade pastries at Coffee Emporium, we headed over to volunteer with Over the Rhine Community Housing, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing affordable housing services for low-income residents.  Half of the group worked to flip an apartment by sweeping and mopping the floors while the other worked to clear an abandoned lot overgrown by weeds, bushes, and trees.  We then made our way to a much-deserved lunch at Findlay Market, a thriving, historic farmers market in the heart of Over the Rhine.

After lunch, we traveled to Peaslee Neighborhood Center to bleach all of the tables, chairs, cots, and cribs used in their Child Development Center.  The experience came to a close with the group engaging in some guided reflection regarding the Immersion experience, the Over the Rhine community, and urban issues in general.