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Rustin Urban Community Change AxiS (RUCCAS) is a hub providing renewal and resources for Philly metro region urban change-makers and pathways to community change careers for traditional and returning students locally, nationally, and internationally.

Our Vision

A sustainable hub for urban change-makers, an enduring and robust institution that authentically and mutually meets the needs of multiple WCU entities and Philadelphia neighborhoods and organizations, where a deeply multiracial and cross-class alliance of youth and adults with a multiplicity of professional expertise and live experience engage in practices to further develop their own and each other's abilities to leverage assets and resources in and outside the community to cultivate security and vibrancy, trust and relationship, and equity and power.

Our Mission

To support the building of power for Southeastern PA metropolitan communities, specifically but not exclusively global majority/communities of color and low-income urban communities, through providing together new and mid-career urban community change professionals -- particularly urban youth workers, artists, and cross-sector racial and economic justice workers -- credential-bearing educational pathways and supportive, healing spaces and opportunities for renewal.


Recent RUCCAS News and Announcements

Dialogues for Diversity title and image of Interim Director Dr. thames-taylor. Text reads: Dialogues for Diversity

On January 23rd, 2024, RUCCAS Interim Director Dr. tonya thames-taylor gave a guest lecture at Delaware County Community College as part of their "Dialogues for Diversity" series. The lecture, entitled "Brand Legacy: How Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King Built a Brand Legacy Beyond Trends," explored the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who had a 68% disapproval rate from Americans following his assassination in 1966. Dr. thames-taylor discussed the work of Coretta Scott King following the death of Dr. King and argued that her persistence in spreading Dr. King's message was central to turning around his public image. This work led 98% of Americans in 2022 to claim that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. shaped and influenced America. 

Delco Times: West Chester professor speaks about Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy at Delaware County Community College, January 24, 2024



We create credential-bearing educational pipelines for young, emerging, and mid-career community change-makers, including:

  • Urban Community Change (RUX, pronounced "ruckus") major: The courses for this newly-approved 39-credit interdisciplinary undergraduate major build students’ knowledge, skills, commitment, and vision concerning community and social change, preparing them for jobs or further education in this field or in cross-sector professions that value these competencies. Learn more about course listings.
  • Youth Empowerment & Urban Studies (YES): An 18-credit interdisciplinary, place-based academic minor for students in any major.  The mission of YES is to amplify through study and action a critical understanding of the role youth can play in social change.  The overall goals of the YES program are to contribute to making real community-based change in our local urban areas, especially the City of Philadelphia, and to develop “change-makers,” or individuals who have the skills and knowledge to contribute as citizens, including increasing educational and political access for themselves and others.

Renewal and Resources

We serve as an incubator and backbone organization for new and growing urban organizing and education collaborations. We work in partnership with many community organizations, our current list is here, where our students serve as interns and learn beside professionals in the field.  Partner organizations can access university resources such as space, expertise and networks.  Currently, RUCCAS serves as an active incubator and collaborator with renewal, support, advocacy and direct service organizations including:

  • United to End Racism: RUCCAS is the incubator for a local affiliate of UER, which serves as a multi-racial peer support network for faculty, staff, students and community.
  • Center for Youth Development Professionals: CYPD was founded to fill a significant gap in the region: support and rigorous professional development for out-of-school-time professionals.
  • iCAMP: Kicked off in summer 2017, DeCoding the World through Media (AKA iCamp) was founded by one of our affiliated faculty (Dr. Laquana Cooke), which brought Philadelphia youth interested in media and social justice to campus for one week, supported and taught by multiple units on campus.


RUCCAS Students Trip


RUCCAS students…

RUCCAS alumni…




Dagmawe, a current RUCCAS student

"RUCCAS has definitely made me recommit to my desire to be an agent of change in my community. The idea that meaningful change happens locally as opposed to having a desire to “change the world.” That's all good, but real meaningful things happen right in your backyard."



A picture of Alex, a current Ruccas Student

"The emphasis on true community action in my classes has already shaped my perspectives. It shows me what you can do every single day consciously to shape the world and create real meaningful difference."




CLP Logo

Community Learning Partnership

We are affiliated with the national CLP organization whose mission is to contribute to progressive community and social change by expanding the credentialed workforce of knowledgeable and skilled leaders and organizers coming from low-income communities and communities of color. The CLP Network prepares people directly impacted by poverty and racism to enter careers where they can address injustice and inequality and improve the quality of life in their communities.

Learn more about Community Learning Partnership