On Thursday, March 19th at 7 pm the Strathmore Speaker Series will host the first event of its spring 2015 season. This event, entitled “The Near Westside – by Choice!”, will feature a panel discussion between neighbors who live and work on Syracuse’s Near Westside. It is our first panel event, and in honor of it, we will be posting weekly bios of our guests. First up is our panel moderator Maarten Jacobs.
Maarten Jacobs, MSW, is the Director of the Near Westside Initiative (NWSI), a nonprofit organization working to combine the power of art, technology, and innovation with neighborhood values and culture to revitalize Syracuse’s Near Westside (also known as the SALT District). In that role over the past four years, Maarten has worked diligently to ensure that the residents of the Near Westside neighborhood are actively engaged in the revitalization taking place in their neighborhood and ensuring that the community’s best interests are always represented. Similarly, with a personal passion for the arts, Maarten has pushed the Near Westside Initiative to be a truly place-based initiative with a focus on implementing creative placemaking as a fundamental strategy for economic and community development.
In addition to his work with the Near Westside Initiative, he teaches Community Economic Development at the Syracuse University School of Social Work. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology and a Master’s degree in Social Work with a concentration in Community Development and Social Action from the University of Maryland.