City of Winston-Salem University

City of Winston-Salem University gives citizens a better understanding of city government, including the responsibilities of various city departments and the city’s role in the community.

Students are chosen through an application process. Class size is limited. It is a FREE, 12-week course which meets once a week on Thursdays from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Classes are held at City Hall and various other locations. Next session begins January 30, 2020. Registration opens OCTOBER 1, 2019. 


Topics include:


  • Attend 10 out of 12 sessions (cannot miss more than 2 classes)
  • *Attend at least one City Council OR Council Committee meeting
  • *Complete a ride along with the Winston-Salem Police Department (requires a background check ); OR with the Winston-Salem Fire Department
  • *Complete a group budget project
  • *Participate in one of the following group tours: Utilities Division facility (Elledge Wastewater Treatment Plant, or Hanes Mill Landfill); bonds project tour; or shadow a City Link agent.
    *Denotes outside of class time


2019 CWSU graduates

Back row: Mary Clark-Jackson, Ben Hodge, George Redd, Mackenzie Cates Allen, Joe Cassidy, Terry Zhu, Sandra Keeney
Second row: Jean Alsup, Melissa Vickers, Pam Webb, Artenia Boyce, Santiago Ramos, Bonny Bernat, Jaquae Perkins, Shakira Bethea, Skip Skipper
Front row: Kanika Brown, Linda Hill, Sue Spainhour (program coordinator), Money Cannon, Nicole Howard

Class of 2018 TESTIMONIALS:

"CWSU University is a fun, engaging program that teaches its participants how the city operates. It offers a unique behind-the-scenes perspective on the cogs that keep the city running, and the people behind the curtains! Proud to have had the privilege to be a part of it.:  - Nathan Borne

"City of Winston Salem University is a very rewarding program. It was a unique experience built on reciprocal trust, teamwork, flexibility, high expectations and a shared vision for the growth of Winston-Salem, NC. " - James Carter

"I had a great experience in CWSU. I met a lot of folks I wouldn’t have otherwise from all different parts of the City. I learned about city departments I didn’t know existed and the many ways the City touches my life on a daily basis. I’m looking forward to being a better ambassador for the City and serving in a volunteer capacity on a board or commission." - Brittney Gaspari

"I truly had no idea the depth and complexity of everything that has to happen to keep our great city running smoothly. It really was a valuable and eye opening experience!"  - Michael Green

"I was incredibly nervous that I would be the only person of color and woman in this space. To my absolute pleasant surprise, I saw every single type of person in the class and that was inspiring. I still refer to my binder for questions about community roles and I'm proud of the high level of accessibility and transparency our City Government offers and how PROUD they are to hold their tenures and positions." - Ashley Johnson

"CWSU served as a great opportunity to understand the city I live in and how much the city invests in the citizens it serves." - Shannon Little

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