Class offers students real-world practice by updating downtown tour


 Paradise Creek Brewery as seen on Tuesday, Feb. 4. Paradise Creek is one of several attractions on the proposed historic walk through downtown Pullman.

From staff reports

Washington State University students can receive professional work experience while updating Pullman’s downtown walking tour for a history class.

The WSU class “Selling the City” is working with the Pullman Historic Preservation Commission to update the tour and design a brochure. The Commission and Center for Civic Engagement will help the class, which is taught by Phil Gruen, an associate professor in the school of architecture and construction management, navigate the project.

“Our goal is to add new sites to the tour and produce a brochure that is fresh and unique,” said Robert Franklin, a graduate student in history helping with the class.

This is a valuable experience for students as they learn to work with a real client through classwork, said Kristen Koenig, CCE coordinator for academic programs. The class will present the final product to Pullman’s Historic Preservation Commission at the end of the semester.

Some of places students are being asked to research are the Cordova Theater, the new WSU Visitor Center, Dumas Seed Company warehouse, and the Pullman river walk, according to the class syllabus.

“Students who take this class will develop a deeper connection to Pullman, and not just think of it as a place they went to school but a home,” Koenig said. “It will also help them connect with community members.”

This is an opportunity for students to really connect with community members because many of them have already requested to join the Facebook page and are willing to help the class, Gruen said.

“Sometimes it’s hard for me to let the students control the class, but I find that when I let the students have control they prosper and really get engaged in the project and care about a great final product,” he said. “This is a kind of class where I don’t want students doing the work just for a grade.”