(Photo source: Farmhouse Creative. Nate Howard (Director of the MLB) and Jeb Reece (Land Bank Manager at Intend Indiana) co-teach a BSU Neighborhood Studio course)


  • BBN grants are no longer intended to cover expenses related to immersive learning courses.
  • Faculty who are interested in applying for immersive learning funding should work through the Office of Immersive Learning. Immersive Learning grant opportunities are available here.
  • While BBN projects may take place in a course and/or involve students, they are not required to meet the criteria of immersive learning projects.

The Office of Community Engagement is pleased to offer special funding for Faculty who are focused on improving the quality of life in Muncie through the Building Better Neighborhoods (BBN) program.

The BBN initiative connects Ball State’s resources with neighborhood development efforts across Muncie and Delaware County and is a collaboration between the Office of Community Engagement, the Muncie Action Plan, and other local agencies working to improve our community’s neighborhoods.

BBN Faculty are encouraged to connect their grant proposals to the challenges and aims articulated in Muncie Action Plan’s 2022 Strategic Investment Plan for Muncie, which highlights downtown Muncie, city neighborhoods, parks, and connective corridors. Connections may also be made to the TogetherDM county comprehensive plan. Specifically, faculty are encouraged to align their proposal with one or more of the “big things” named in the plan: quality of place, housing, and/or upward mobility.

BBN grants can cover costs of faculty-led community-engaged research projects, faculty-led co-curricular projects, or resources needed by community agencies. Expenses may include supplies, minor equipment, printing, surveys, neighborhood planning sessions, and other project-related expenses. BBN grants typically range from $500-4000.


Example Projects:


Social well-being and quality of life can be measured using indicators like income, housing, education, health, and the physical environment of an area. In this immersive learning Building Better Neighborhoods project, students evaluated the quality-of-life for residents in the Riverside-Normal City Neighborhood in Muncie. They assessed the living quality for each housing unit in the neighborhood, including the building’s health, physical environment, and its adjacency to community amenities and hazards. Features, such as driving and walking distance to nearest grocery stores, parks, and other amenities, were derived from existing GIS layers or extracted from high-resolution aerial photos in the GIS lab at Ball State University. Additionally, the students used smartphones equipped with thermal infrared cameras to collect information on structure heat loss, road conditions, and lawn health. The students integrated the collected data into a living quality geodatabase of Muncie neighborhoods for further analysis. Explore some of the story maps created using the collected data.

Faculty Mentor: Jason Yang, Department of Geography
Community Partner: Muncie Action Plan


A student in a hard hat attaches a board to the side of a house with a yellow drill.

ecoREHAB is a Muncie nonprofit organization that emerged from an immersive experience within Ball State’s Department of Architecture. It supports real-world learning opportunities for students through projects that transform abandoned properties into inviting and affordable homes. The nonprofit sought to expand its reach and reputation. Students developed an integrated and measurable marketing and communications strategy. They gathered and shared compelling stories about the organization’s impact through various platforms and methods. They created a logo and additional marketing pieces and improved ecoREHAB’s web and social media presence.

Faculty Mentor: Kate Elliott, Department of Journalism
Community Partner: ecoREHAB


Maps, yellow post-its, teal post-its, and sharpie markets are scattered across a table. A woman's hands are visible writing something on one of the yellow post-its.In the summer of 2019, the City of Muncie made the bold decision to reclaim the former Halteman Swim Club property and designate it as a new city park. The public space, called Halteman Park, represents the extensive efforts of the Halteman Village Neighborhood Association (HVNA), a Ball State class taught by Professors Chris Baas and Steve Burrows, and the Muncie Parks Department to turn this abandoned pool area into a green space for residents to enjoy. In this immersive Building Better Neighborhoods project, Landscape Architecture students built on the work of previous studios to develop plans for the site. Early this spring, students conducted a public work session with members of the HVNA, the City of Muncie, and the community at large to strategize, vision, and create actionable steps for future improvements for the property.

Faculty Mentors: Chris Baas, Jeremy Merrill; Department of Landscape Architecture; J.P. Hall, Department of Architecture
Community Partners: Halteman Village Neighborhood Association, City of Muncie, Muncie Parks Department


Various red and cream colored marketing materials arranged on a red backgroundThe City of Muncie has diverse communities with friendly people, exciting pasts, and outstanding cultural amenities that make it a desired place to live, do business, and visit. Starting in Spring 2019, Studio 165+, an immersive design studio in the School of Art, began working with neighborhood committees to develop their visual identity, elevate their image and evoke a sense of pride in residents. After developing a neighborhood identity, they created designs to captured those characteristics and established style guides to help the neighborhoods illustrate graphic standards and rules to ensure consistency and continuity across applications and platforms. The neighborhoods done so far include Halteman Village, Robinwood Estates, Westbrier, Whitely, Old West End, Forest Park, Southside, and Riverside Normal City. Designs for Old West End and Whitey have won multiple ADDY awards from the American Advertising Federation - East Central Indiana chapter and an American Graphic Design Award. Visit the Studio 165+ website to learn more about the project and see more designs.

Faculty Mentor: Shantanu Suman, School of Art
Community Partners: Building Better Neighborhoods, Muncie Action Plan



Faculty can get feedback on proposal ideas, potential funding amounts, or ask general questions about the application by contacting Heather Williams, Associate Director for Community Engagement and Program Manager for Building Better Neighborhoods. Eligibility is contingent on approval from the applicant’s chair and College dean. BBN proposals must submitted through Infoready.