President's Commission on the Status of Minorities
2010 Diversity Award
Carl Small Town Center
The Carl Small Town Center (CSTC) is a non-profit organization within the College of Architecture, Art, and Design at Mississippi State University. It was established in 1979, responding to its geographical position within a rural landscape and to the school's focus on the American small town. Its goals as a design center include influencing public policy on the built environment and promoting collaboration between communities, students and faculty. At present, the center has twenty projects in fifteen communities around the state of Mississippi. The CSTC's work with the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (MBCI) led by Assistant Prof. Hans Herrmann, was a collaboration between 4th year architecture students, the MBCI, and the CSTC. This project challenged the students, faculty and community leaders to engage one another professionally and as citizens of Mississippi in the spirit of community design.
This project involved architectural students in a real world project with culturally distinctive clients who played a pertinent role in the decision process. It provided an opportunity for architecture students to engage in public forums, to understand and discuss not only architecture but about needs of the people of Bogue Chitto and Pearl River, Mississippi. The design studio class focused on learning and understanding construction as a class-wide activity which continually prompted the architecture students to place the interests of the Choctaw community before their own personal architectural expression.
This collaborative undertaking made possible an educational experience rooted in statesmanship and civic minded development. The lessons learned will undoubtedly carry forward in both the professional and civic activities of the students involved. The CSTC and Professor Herrmann are proud of this achievement and hope this project serves as a positive role-model for further collaborative projects in the state of Mississippi.