In this post, we speak with Alvan-Bidal Sanchez. A native of Amarillo, Texas, he received his undergraduate degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he majored in Architecture and minored in Landscape Architecture. Alvan is interested in issues of social justice, public participation, and community empowerment in historically disenfranchised communities and communities of color.
In the School, what degree are you seeking? What year are you in?
I’m a 3rd year dual degree student seeking a Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning (MSCRP) & Master of Public Affairs (MPAff).
In what ways have you incorporated diversity and equity issues as part of your educational experience?
I’ve attempted to broaden my educational experience by taking courses in other departments and being involved in student organizations that promote social justice. I’ve managed to take courses on the Civil Rights Movement; Latino Service Provision; Women in Politics; Community Development; and Transportation, Access, and Equity. I’ve also supported organizations like the Community & Regional Planning Student Organization (CRPSO), the Public Affairs Alliance for Communities of Color (PAACC), the Harvey Milk Society (HMS), and the Feminist Policy Alliance (FPA) in promoting events and activities aimed at broadening awareness of issues related to these communities.
What does diversity mean to you?
Diversity is more than having greater numbers of women, LGBTQA+ people, people of color, or people with disabilities in the School. Its about actively creating an inclusive climate where the lived experiences of each individual are valued.
Can you describe the sense of community at the School?
The Community and Regional Planning Program is a relatively small program where you can know everyone but still have a close group of friends. Students and faculty bring a variety of experiences and are engaged in real world issues that affect people at all levels, local, regional, national, and international.
What are your aspirations –big or small– for the future?
I want to continue to explore the issues facing marginalized communities through both personal and professional efforts. I don’t know where I’ll end up but I’d like to stay in the South, preferably Texas, and work on transportation policy.