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The present – and future – of alternative breaks

March is spring break time — a perfect time to invite our network to this year’s Civic Engagement Administrator Conference: “The Future of Alternative Breaks.” Held June 6-7 at Elon University, this year’s CEAC (we pronounce it “See-ack”) will offer keynote and breakout sessions that push the boundaries of the alternative service trip model. The call for workshop proposals is open now through April 21. Topics of interest include:

  • Pre-trip orientation/preparation and post-trip re-entry/transition
  • Building sustainable/reciprocal community partnerships
  • Student leadership models and training
  • Reflection tools & tips
  • Co-curricular and academic/credit-based models
  • Assessment
  • Research and Theory
  • Equity and Inclusion

Workshop contacts will be notified in early May. Conference registration is $75/pp ($100/pp if from a non-member campus). Registration is open now through May 19. Though CEAC is typically geared for faculty and staff, student leaders of alternative break programs are also welcome this year.

CEAC participants enjoy learning from each other and hearing about exciting programs taking place in our state and beyond. Here are some alternative service trips highlighted recently in our network:

Students take on service, learning during vacation – ECU students, led by AmeriCorps VISTA members, live and serve at local homeless shelter over break.

APPLES leads alumna to an alternative route – alternative breaks program provides UNC Chapel Hill grad with unique experiences that lead to career in science education.

ECU Students lend helping hand with alternative spring break – students travel to Carteret County to help NC Coastal Federation with oyster habitat restoration.

Duke University Students Spend Spring Break in Fresno Installing Solar Panels – Duke students work with a local agency that installs solar panels for low-income homeowners.

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Engaged Faculty Scholars program supports research, collaboration

The Engaged Faculty Scholars program supports two NC faculty members for one year as they work to deepen the practice of community engagement at their own campus and support the development of community-engaged teaching at another school in the network.  We are currently accepting applications from faculty ready to take on this role in the 2017-18 academic year.

Our current Engaged Faculty Scholars — Dr. Maggie Commins of Queens University and Dr. Cara Kozma of High Point University — are more than half-way through their term. Both are carrying out individual research and working together to support faculty service-learning practice at Davidson County Community College.

But the work of these scholars doesn’t end when their term of service concludes. Our inaugural team of faculty scholars – Dr. Annie Jonas of Warren Wilson College and Dr. Ashley Oliphant of Pfeiffer University – recently shared updates that illustrate how projects begun during their year as Engaged Scholars continue to shape engagement on their campus.

Dr. Jonas offered this update:

My project for the Engaged Scholars year focused on exploring how civic identity could be launched through an intentional focus on it in the First Year Seminar. In summer 2016, I trained First Year instructors on the concept of civic identity and the developmental aspects of civic identity development. I worked with instructors during the course to evaluate how this was happening throughout the semester and to explore how to better nurture and develop the knowledge, skills, values and collective action that comprise civic identity. During the fall semester, I also collected data about how First Year students were responding to this intentional emphasis and collected data about faculty perspectives on teaching through this lens. I received a semester sabbatical this spring to analyze that data and write about the results. I am excited to share some of this knowledge at the Gulf South Summit and am working on a journal article to share results and possible implications. This research will impact my work with First Year students and instructors in future semesters. Over the past year, my focus on the developmental aspects of civic identity has expanded to impact the college more broadly. Civic identity is now included as a core outcome within our college’s new general education program and forms the basis for development of the college’s Civic Action Plan.

Dr. Jonas (center) joined Warren Wilson College students participating in a national day of service on MLK day. (Photos by Chris Polydoroff)

Dr. Jonas (center) joined Warren Wilson College students participating in a national day of service on MLK day. (Photos by Chris Polydoroff)

Dr. Oliphant shared this report:

My Engaged Faculty Scholar experience yielded the FUSE (First-year Undergraduate Service Experience) program. In its pilot year, the FUSE program has engaged every freshman student in group service twice. In Fall 2016, the Pfeiffer Journey first-year seminar professors participated with their students in service opportunities organized through the Francis Center for Servant Leadership. Activities in September included harvesting food in the university’s Hunger Relief Garden, preparing and serving that food at The Community Table, and serving in a Samaritan’s Purse disaster relief workday in eastern NC. In January, Pfeiffer used its Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service grant from NC/CC to facilitate seven days of service, with activities including moving the Hunger Relief Garden across campus and more than doubling its size. Following the service activities in both semesters, students worked with their first-year writing professors to compose graded written reflections of the experiences for their portfolios. As the program moves beyond the pilot and into its first full year beginning in 2017, Francis Center administrators plan to focus the issue area for FUSE service on hunger relief. The activities in the pilot year made it possible to expand the garden space so that it would have the capacity to host larger groups. Additionally, officials with campus dining services have agreed to use some of the food grown in the campus garden to prepare dining hall meals. As well, dining services has been donating excess food from the cafeteria to the Francis Center’s food recovery program. This recovered food and the produce from the university’s garden are now being used to serve low-income residents at local soup kitchens. Now that all of these programs are working simultaneously, first-year students have the opportunity to work in a variety of ways to help Pfeiffer fight local hunger.

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Benefits of the program to selected Scholars include:

  • Financial stipend of $1500
  • Up to $500 travel reimbursement for visiting the partner institution (the mileage reimbursement rate is .555 per mile)
  • Up to $500 for professional development (e.g. conference or training attendance support)
  • At least one free civic engagement publication

Colleges and universities are also encouraged to provide a match of cash, course release, and/or other resources and recognition.

Applications to be a 2017-18 Engaged Faculty Scholar are due on May 12.
Learn more and apply.

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AmeriCorps Week honors those who serve

This week we are celebrating AmeriCorps Week and honoring the one million individuals who’ve served as AmeriCorps members since the program’s founding in 1994. We are especially grateful for our 14 current AmeriCorps VISTA members and more than 200 alumni of our program, who have made lasting contributions to the field of campus-community engagement in North Carolina – from supporting a Campus Kitchen project or campus food pantry, to coordinating an MLK Day of Service event, to breaking ground on a community garden, to brokering a new service-learning class. Our VISTAs have also strengthened non-profit organizations like Feast Down East, Community Empowerment Fund, and the Partnership for Appalachian Girls Education (PAGE) that first began as student or faculty projects. Our VISTA project has even helped seed new VISTA projects, at Virginia Tech and now at Wake Forest University.

Along the way, our VISTAs have embodied commitment to the greater good, inspiring thousands of college students with their focus on poverty, social justice, and improving communities. And our alums have gone on to work in higher education, non-profits, or the private sector with a deeper understanding of challenges facing the most vulnerable and a greater sense of their personal efficacy to make change.

Like military service members, all VISTA member take an oath of service to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” VISTA members also commit to the ideals expressed in the AmeriCorps pledge:

I will get things done for America – to make our people safer, smarter, and healthier.
I will bring Americans together to strengthen our communities.
Faced with apathy, I will take action.
Faced with conflict, I will seek common ground.
Faced with adversity, I will persevere.
I will carry this commitment with me this year and beyond.
I am an AmeriCorps member, and I will get things done.

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To learn more about the work and life of an AmeriCorps VISTA, check out this selection of blog posts written by past VISTA members:

George Barrett, VISTA, Marian Cheek Jackson Center (2014-15): Little did I know this house would become my home – ” If I have learned anything in my few months, it is that COMMUNITY is a dynamic and complex web that cannot not be packaged in a neat and calculated elevator speech. … Every day is different. Every day is active. Every day is community.”

Natasha Vos, VISTA, Wake Forest University (2014-16): Foodie? – “Fresh and healthy food should not be a luxury afforded to those living in the right part of the city with the most money. If you care where the ingredients in your food come from and how they were prepared, then you should also care about where they end up.”

Devin Corrigan, VISTA, UNC Greensboro (2013-14): Looking Back while Moving Forward: Reflections from an “organized” VISTA — “Bad days will happen. Things go wrong. Buses cancel two days before the big event. You drop the ball on a project. It’s important to build your safety net before you are falling.”

Shifra Sered, VISTA, East Carolina University (2013-14): Let’s Talk Taboo: My experiences with race and poverty as a NC Campus Compact VISTA – “I believe that AmeriCorps does important and necessary work that, on an individual level, can make all the difference in someone’s life. I believe it should continue to provide volunteers to strengthen non-profits and engage with communities. However, I also believe that the work of AmeriCorps is not done in a vacuum and must take into consideration the ways structural inequalities work in our communities, in our organizations and within AmeriCorps itself.”

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Social Change Forum explores connections between community engagement and social innovation

On February 14 at Duke University, nearly 100 faculty and staff from 19 colleges and universities gathered to explore how “both sides of the house” — community engagement and social entrepreneurship — could learn from the other and thereby achieve greater community impact and deeper student learning.

Dr. David Scobey speaks at the Social Change Forum.

Dr. David Scobey speaks at the Social Change Forum.

“I see both common ground and creative tension between community engagement and social innovation — and both the commonalities and the tensions seem to me a good thing,” declared Dr. David Scobey in his plenary remarks, “Social Innovation and Community Engagement: Collaborations, Disagreements, and the Value of Both.”

The University of Michigan scholar drew on more than 20 years of higher education experience to sketch the core common values and shared history of these approaches, as well as what makes each distinct: their parallel development in different areas of the academy, their approaches to social change, and the resulting student experience and mindset.

In Scobey’s framework, students undertake community engagement as “civic apprentices,” undertaking service work that – at its core – involves recognizing and building relationships, while students operate in the social innovation mode as “creative interventionists,” quick-strike problem solvers with a focus on results. Scobey offered examples of  individuals and organizations who have made lasting social change by effectively marrying these approaches, creating imaginative solutions grounded in deep understanding of human and social context.

Duke's Eric Mlyn pointed out one difference between the two approaches: quality of snacks.

Duke’s Eric Mlyn points out one difference between the two approaches: the quality of snacks.

Along with Scobey, participants heard from Duke Engage director Dr. Eric Mlyn, who co-authored with Dr. Amanda Moore McBride a 2016 article “Social Innovation and Civic Engagement: Toward a Shared Future?” that was pre-reading for the forum. A team of Duke faculty also shared results of their research into student perspectives of “service-learning” and “social entrepreneurship.” Other presenters offered up programs as “collaborative models”:

The gathering opened with a “community expertise” exercise that let participants begin to explore their own conceptions of the goals, strengths, and challenges of both the community engagement and social innovation approaches. View the program here.

Participants discuss their own views of community engagement and social innovation.

NC Campus Compact was pleased to partner with Duke University’s Office of Civic Engagement, Office of Service-Learning, and the Duke Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative to host this special event.

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2017 Engagement Awards honor leaders with combined 90 years of experience in higher education

On February 8 at NC A&T State University, North Carolina Campus Compact convened 35 college and university presidents and chancellors and some 30 other campus officials for its annual Presidents Forum. The event was a chance for these leaders to explore issues related to higher education’s public purposes, but it was also an opportunity to honor three outstanding individuals with the network’s 2017 Engagement Awards.

Together, the honorees have nearly 90 years of experience, marked by commitment to their institutions, their communities, and the work of campus-community engagement. The 2017 Engagement Award recipients are Dr. William Ingram, president of Durham Technical Community College, Dr. David Malone, professor at Duke University, and Dr. Smith Jackson, dean of students at Elon University.

(L-R): HPU President Nido Qubein, Duke's Dr. David Malone, Durham Tech President William Ingram, Elon's Dr. Smith Jackson, Compact ED Leslie Garvin

(L-R): HPU President Nido Qubein, Duke Professor David Malone, Durham Tech President William Ingram, Elon’s Dr. Smith Jackson, Compact ED Leslie Garvin. Photos: Andrew Krech

Lambert Engaged Leader Award – Dr. William Ingram

Dr. Ingram received the 2017 Leo M. Lambert Engaged Leader Award. Named in honor of Elon University’s president, the Lambert Award is presented each year to one college or university leader in North Carolina for creating and sustaining efforts that foster student engagement and deeply impact the community. The honoree is nominated and selected by fellow presidents and chancellors whose institutions are members of the Compact. Ingram is the first community college president to be honored since the award was first presented in 2012.

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Ingram first came to the Durham Tech in 1983 as director of continuing education, and he went on to fill a number of administrative posts over the years, including dean of technical and vocational programs and chief instructional officer. In 2008, he became the college’s fourth president.

As president, Ingram has worked to support student success and boost community service. To celebrate the college’s 50th anniversary in 2011, Ingram declared a “Year of Service.” In 2015, Ingram created the Center for College and Community Service to unite service learning, co-curricular service and volunteerism, and the Campus Harvest Food Pantry under one umbrella. The Center also hosts the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) of Durham, which places community members aged 55 and up at nonprofit agencies to help meet critical community needs.

In 2011 Ingram worked with local officials to pass a county sales tax increase, with proceeds going to improve public education in Durham. As a result, Durham Tech receives nearly $1 M each year for the college’s ConnectFund program, which provides need-based financial aid through scholarships, work-study stipends, and other assistance to recent graduates of Durham Public Schools and to county residents, including those enrolled in Durham Tech’s Adult High School Diploma program.

Read more about Dr. Ingram.

Sigmon Service-Learning Award – Dr. David Malone

Dr. David M. Malone of Duke University is the recipient of the 2017 Robert L. Sigmon Service-Learning Award. The Sigmon Award, created in 2006, recognizes one faculty member in the state for significant contributions to the practice of service-learning, a teaching strategy that links community service to classroom study and reflection. North Carolina native Robert Sigmon, for whom the award is named, pioneered the approach in the 1970s.

Mr. Sigmon presents award to Dr. Malone of Duke University.

Mr. Sigmon presents award to Dr. Malone of Duke University.

Malone is a Professor of the Practice in Duke’s Program in Education. Over more than three decades, Malone has shaped the university’s community engagement through his teaching, administrative leadership, and research.

According to Eric Mlyn, director of DukeEngage, “To the extent that Duke now enjoys a national and international reputation for using knowledge in the service of society, David Malone is without doubt the unsung hero of this movement here.”

Malone is faculty director of Duke’s Service Learning program and faculty co-director of Duke’s International Center for Service Learning in Teacher Education, and he was part of the team that helped create DukeEngage, a program that allows undergraduates to pursue an immersive summer of service in partnership with a U.S. or international community.

Working closely with colleagues at Duke and in the Durham Public Schools, Dr. Malone helped launch the Partners for Success tutoring program in 1998, and he still directs the program. This service-learning program matches about 300 Duke students each year with local children who need assistance in reading, math, and academic learning strategies.

Malone is the second Sigmon Award winner from Duke. Dr. Betsy Alden received the inaugural Sigmon Award in 2006.

Read more about Dr. Malone.

Civic Engagement Professional of the Year – Dr. Smith Jackson

Dr. Smith Jackson, vice president of student life and dean of students at Elon University, is the Compact’s 2017 Civic Engagement Professional of the Year. The award recognizes one staff person in the state for efforts to institutionalize a campus-wide vision of service, support the engagement of faculty and students, and form innovative campus-community partnerships.

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Dr. Leo Lambert and Dr. Smith Jackson

Jackson has been a champion of civic and community engagement at Elon for more than 20 years, and his thoughtful advocacy and administrative acumen have helped make Elon a national leader in engaged learning. He secured resources to establish a center for service-learning and later worked to endow it as the Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement. Jackson helped institute a service-learning residential community, a leadership program based on the Social Change model, and an experiential learning transcript. To encourage cooperation among various departments and programs, he organized a campus-wide Council on Civic Engagement.

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Dr. Smith Jackson and Compact ED Leslie Garvin

Jackson has also nurtured Elon’s connections to Alamance County and beyond. He worked to establish the Downtown/East Burlington route of Elon’s BioBus, which provides free public transportation for students and residents and links the campus with 32 community partner sites. He supported the creation of the Downtown Center for Community Engagement, which has space for service activities and meetings with community partners, and is available for local non-profits to use.

Dr. Jackson has also been a vital ally of North Carolina Campus Compact. Working with Elon President Leo Lambert, Jackson helped establish the statewide network and Elon as its host campus. He has advised all of the Compact’s executive directors, and he serves as an ex officio member of the group’s executive board.

“Without Dr. Jackson’s partnership and contributions, North Carolina Campus Compact would not be where it is today,” says Dr. Lisa Keyne, a former director of the network.

Jackson is the second Elon professional to be honored since the award was first presented in 2006. Mary Morrison, director of the Kernodle Center, was recognized in 2011.

Read more about Dr. Jackson.

Nominations for the Compact’s 2018 Engagement Awards will open in fall of 2017. Visit our Awards page for more information.

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HPU President Qubein Announces Challenge Gift to Create NC Campus Compact Endowment

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President Nido Qubein. Photo: High Point University

Last week before a group of fellow college and university presidents and chancellors, High Point University President Nido R. Qubein announced High Point University will make a challenge gift of $200,000 to support the work of North Carolina Campus Compact. The gift will go toward creating an endowment to help ensure the long-term sustainability of the network.

“Campus Compact is a catalyst for campus and community partnerships,” Qubein said. “HPU appreciates that through Campus Compact, universities can maximize their roles as anchor institutions in their cities and continuously enhance their communities. For years to come, this gift will allow campuses and communities in North Carolina to work together for the benefit of all.”

The announcement came during the Compact’s annual Presidents Forum, a gathering where presidents and chancellors explore issues related to the Compact’s mission of promoting civic and community engagement in higher education. The 2017 forum – hosted by North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro on Feb. 8 – also marked the network’s 15th anniversary.

In announcing the gift, Dr. Qubein – who is the current chair of the Compact’s executive board – also spoke of his desire to honor the vision of Elon University President Leo M. Lambert, who founded the Compact in 2002. Dr. Lambert announced on February 13 his plan to step down as Elon’s president after 18 years of service.

“My thanks goes to Nido Qubein for his leadership of the Compact Board and for this generous challenge gift,” said President Lambert, “It was a great surprise and characteristic of President Qubein’s commitment to fostering civic engagement among North Carolina college and university students in communities across the Old North State.”

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Members of the NC Campus Compact Executive Board (L-R): Chancellor David Belcher, Western Carolina; Leslie Garvin, NC Campus Compact; Chancellor Harold Martin, NC A&T State; President Leo Lambert, Elon; President Randy Parker, Guilford Tech; President Nido Qubein, High Point; President Andrew Seligsohn, Campus Compact (national); Dr. Smith Jackson, Elon. Photo: Andrew Krech.

North Carolina Campus Compact provides resources, recognition, and professional development to help faculty, staff, students, and administrators build the “engaged campus,” where student learning is connected to community life.

The Compact’s conferences and workshops serve almost 500 individuals each year; its online journal Partnerships and monthly newsletter reach nearly 3,000 subscribers; and its grant programs – including an AmeriCorps VISTA program – support projects that mobilize campuses to the address community challenges. The Compact currently has 37 member schools, and its main office is hosted by Elon University.

“For 15 years we have helped build the capacity of NC colleges and universities to develop service-minded students who can positively impact the quality of life in their local communities,” says Compact Executive Director Leslie Garvin. “We are so grateful to HPU for this gift, and we’ll use it deepen and expand our reach in the future.”

The 2017 Presidents Forum included discussions with national experts like Jaime Merisotis, president and CEO of the Lumina Foundation and author of the recent book America Needs Talent, who shared ideas for how higher education in NC can create a 21st Century workforce. Read more about his remarks here.

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NC campuses honor MLK through service

Through MLK Day of Service grants and its AmeriCorps VISTA program, NC Campus Compact supported the efforts of several member campuses that sought to honor Dr. King’s legacy by fighting poverty and building the beloved community through service.

Three NC universities – NC Central University, Pfeiffer University, and UNC Greensboro – put federal grant funding to work in honor of MLK Day. Each school received up to $3000 in grant funding last fall as part of the MLK Day of Service Partnership Project, which is sponsored by the federal Corporation for National and Community Service and administered by Iowa Campus Compact.

At NC Central, hundreds of volunteers turned out on January 16 to volunteer on various projects. The celebration also honored NCCU’s late chancellor Dr. Debra Saunders-White, the first female chancellor of the school. The university partnered with the United Way of the Greater Triangle on the day of service and a series of service-related events, including the United Way’s Idea Generation Next: College Edition, a “pitch competition” where students shared ideas to address social issues in their local community.

At Pfeiffer University, a team of volunteers that included Pfeiffer President Colleen Perry Keith, NC Campus Compact Executive Director Leslie Garvin, and dozens of student volunteers put in a long day of work expanding the campus “hunger relief garden,” building new raised beds and unloading soil. Produce from the garden is donated to local hunger relief agencies in Stanly County.

Pfeiffer University students worked on MLK Day to expand the campus "hunger relief" garden.

Pfeiffer University students worked on MLK Day to expand the campus “hunger relief” garden.

Since UNC Greensboro’s spring classes began on Tuesday, January 17 and many students were off-campus on MLK Day, the school held its MLK service event on Saturday, January 21. At the event, 140 participants served a collective 360 hours and completed service projects for 11 community organizations, including the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, the Servant Center, and Backpack Beginnings. AmeriCorps VISTA member Allison Heisel helped write the grant and plan and coordinate the projects, and she supervised service at Backpack Beginnings. Check out the event’s Storify page for great photos and videos of students talking about why they chose to serve.

Spartans honor MLK with day of service

Like Allison, other NC Campus Compact AmeriCorps VISTA members also supported MLK Day of Service events.

Hospitality House VISTA Ethan Flynn managed a team of 10 Appalachian State volunteers participating in the school’s annual MLK Day Challenge. Ethan’s team spent a collective 50 hours working at the Welcome Home Thiftique, cleaning, painting display pieces, organizing the inventory, and creating an attractive display in the front of the store.

At High Point University, the three-person VISTA team of Sami Paterno, Jenna Rosenbloom, and Brittaney McClure worked for weeks to plan and organize the school’s annual MLK Day of Service. The event brought together 550 volunteers to work on 35 service projects throughout the city, including local community gardens, West End Ministries, the Macedonia Family Resource Center, and partner groups in the Washington Street neighborhood. Highlights include raising more than $7,000 to carry out a meal-packing project with the local group Meals for Hope, and a visit from U.S. Senator Thom Tillis, who served alongside students. Read more about the event and view photos here, or check out the video below.

East Carolina University VISTA members Lizzie Shepard and Nicole Blyskal coordinated a day of service event that drew 250 student volunteers to serve with 15 organizations throughout Greenville, including the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC, the Third Street Education Center, and Cultivate Greenville. Check out this story in the local newspaper that quotes Lizzie!

At William Peace University, VISTA member Christopher Baker organized service projects at several campus and community-based sites, including the North Raleigh Thrift Store, Oak City Outreach, and Stop Hunger Now! The event engaged 123 volunteers who contributed more than 550 hours of service, including 10,000 meals packaged with Stop Hunger Now! WPU students also took part in the United Way’s Idea Generation Next: College Edition pitch project.

For more information about NC Campus Compact’s support for MLK Day of Service, please visit our MLK Day page or contact Leslie Garvin.

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