Community Partnerships

Heartland Visioning

Heartland Visioning is a community-wide initiative to develop and implement a shared, strategic vision for what the community wants to be in 5, 10 or 20 years. The community is defined as Shawnee County, which includes Auburn, Rossville, Topeka, Silver Lake, Willard and unincorporated Shawnee County. Students have taken leadership roles in the Heartland Visioning initiative on individual and team levels.  More information about Heartland Visioning can be found at


  • Kylie Gilstrap, Erica Nuss, Angel Romero, Jake Thomas - project’s goal was to “encourage the community to actively assimilate and encourage college age people in the 'Knowledge Corridor' to establish an emotional connection with the community." Results included creating a “WU and You” insert in the Topeka Capitol Journal and expansion of the iSave program.


  • Danielle Van Laeys - project goal was to use social media to more effectively connect high school and college students with the Heartland Visioning initiative. Results increased student participation on Heartland Visioning committees, kept the project fresh in the minds of Shawnee County students and paved the way for future interaction and involvement.

  • Jena McCall, Caley Onek, Michelle Neis - project to address the strategic priorities of the Entertainment Strategic Alliance. Specifically, the team identified and developed sustainable entertainment for citizens between ages 16-20 that this age demographic, as well as the larger community, supported over time.


  • Darrin Simmons – project was to plan and implement a Leadership Lab opportunity focused on civic partnerships for Leadership Institute students. This Leadership Lab included a learning tour of NOTO Arts District, a civic partnerships case study experience with 8 top community leaders and a networking mocktail hour with members of Topeka Fast Forward.