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(L-R) Nido Qubein, Leo Lambert, Kenneth Peacock during the 2014 PACE Conference. PHOTO BY: JEFF JANOWSKI/UNCW
On July 1, Dr. Nido Qubein, president of High Point University, began a three-year term as chairman of North Carolina Campus Compact’s Executive Board. The board is made up of presidents and chancellors from the nearly 40 colleges and universities that are part of the statewide network.
Dr. Qubein’s appointment was announced during the Compact’s annual Pathways to Achieving Civic Engagement (PACE) Conference this past February. He is the third campus leader to serve in this position. Elon University President Leo M. Lambert became the organization’s founding board chair in 2002. In 2008, Appalachian State University Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock assumed the post and served until stepping down last month.
Qubein became president of High Point University in 2005 and has since transformed HPU’s academic programs and facilities. Since he began his tenure at HPU, undergraduate enrollment has more than tripled, and many new academic initiatives such as the Service Learning program have been launched at HPU. Through this program and numerous other service endeavors, the HPU family contributes more than 100,000 hours of service to the community each year.
A successful entrepreneur and philanthropist, Qubein tells students in his President’s Seminar for freshmen and seniors to focus the efforts of their lives in three areas: one-third on learning, one-third on earning, and one-third on serving. Amidst his successful career, he dedicated time to serve as a director or chairman of many organizations including YMCA of the USA, which oversees 2,600 YMCA’s across the country, the High Point Chamber of Commerce, the United Way of Greater High Point, and the High Point Community Foundation.
“I have observed and admired President Qubein,” says Kenneth E. Peacock, chancellor at Appalachian State University and current chair of the NC Campus Compact executive board. “His vision and transformational leadership will make an invaluable difference for our state’s Compact, an organization that positively impacts the lives of so many people.”
Throughout the month of June, North Carolina Campus Compact will be publishing articles written by our VISTA members. These pieces give readers access to first-hand experiences and reflections of VISTAs serving throughout the state. We are excited for them to share their perspectives on community and service with us!
Please note: Any opinions expressed on the VISTA VIEW blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views, opinions, or policies of North Carolina Campus Compact, the AmeriCorps VISTA program or the Corporation for National and Community Service.
By Brittany Johnson, NC Campus Compact VISTA at the Hospitality House of Boone
Becoming an AmeriCorps VISTA has opened the door to so many opportunities and helped me find my purpose in life.
Before serving in AmeriCorps I knew nothing about the program and did not even know it existed. I had no idea about the opportunities it presented and how it would change my life.
Originally from Eastern NC, I grew up in a very small town that I never quite fit into. After a failed attempt at college right after High School, the start of my 20’s was filled with uncertainty and confusion. At 22, I decided to go back to school and figure out my purpose in life. I transferred to Appalachian State University my junior year of college, and since then things have started falling into place. Majoring in Public Relations, I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to do after graduation as there were many paths I could take. It wasn’t until my last semester of college that my path became clear.
After loading over $3000 cans donated to the Hospitality House, the late Ron Hurst and I stopped to take a photo together. Ron was a resident at the HH who inspired me and reminded me that he and others like him are why I do my job. He is greatly missed.
For my senior capstone project, I was paired with Todd Carter, Director of Development for Hospitality House of Boone, to work on a campaign to raise funds and awareness for the nonprofit. After being educated on the homeless and poverty issues in Watauga County and receiving a tour of the amazing facility, I was hooked. I immediately wanted to know more and how I could get involved. Todd was an amazing mentor and his passion was so strong. He inspired me to look beyond my own assumptions of poverty and homelessness and open my eyes to the reality. Throughout the semester-long project I continued to learn so much and develop a passion of my own. I’ve always enjoyed helping people but it was more on a customer service level. Now, I have reached a level that was beyond my imagination and discovered my purpose: to serve others in need. Todd informed me about the AmeriCorps VISTA program and how Hospitality House was trying to apply for a VISTA to manage a very unique project. Filled with excitement, I knew this was the program and project for me. After a lot of research, I applied and became the NC Campus Compact AmeriCorps VISTA for Hospitality House of Boone, and it has been the best decision I’ve made since deciding to go back to college.
Since August I have been working on the Enterprise Project, a thrift store that will act as an economic resource to Hospitality House as well as a training facility for building job skills and financial literacy for Hospitality House clients. Starting a business from the ground up is not easy. Eager to apply my marketing and PR skills, I had to reroute that energy into writing a business plan, something I never had done before. In addition, the location that was originally promised to us by a donor fell through, leaving us with no prospects for the store location. Refusing to quit and be discouraged, I continued to move forward, determined to stop at nothing until the project was successful. In February, I started planning a 5K and a Flapjack Fundraiser to raise money for the business startup costs. The fundraisers were a success and we earned over $4,100 for the store. The hard work finally started paying off. On June 1st we signed a lease for our new thrift store, Welcome Home Thriftique, where we will sell upscale items such as furniture and home goods. It is so exciting to see this vision come alive. As the repairs are made and walls are painted, what seemed to be impossible at one time is now coming into focus.
Celebrating a successful fundraising event at the Color Blast 5K, raising over $8,000 for my project and Western Youth Network, another community nonprofit!
Looking back on a challenging yet amazing year, I realize that I have grown so much. The VISTA program has allowed me to applythe skills I have in a field that suits my interests and every day I learn something new. Without the amazing staff at Hospitality House, the support of this beautiful community, and the guidance and wisdom of two amazing VISTA supervisors, this would not be possible. The lessons I have learned about the business of nonprofits, poverty issues, and the people I serve are priceless. Fueled by my passion, I work hard for something I truly believe in and realize that I am one of the lucky ones who get to do what they love every day. Being a VISTA has taught me to go beyond my comfort zone and realize my own potential and that with hard work and dedication, anything can be done. I am happy to announce that I have signed up for a second year in this program and I cannot wait to see what the next route of this journey has in store.
Here’s an update on how our VISTA members are mobilizing North Carolina’s communities and continuing to fight poverty with the power of higher education!
Our measurable impact from the past four months:
- $49,495 cash and grant resources generated
- $7,221 in-kind resources generated
- 1,751 volunteers mobilized
- 13,070 hours of service performed by volunteers
To date, our VISTAs and the programs and organizations they support have improved the lives of individuals:
- 176 low-income people received housing-related or financial literacy services
- 180 at-risk students completed participation in an education assistance program
- 117 at-risk youth/mentor matches were sustained for the required time period
- 11 new service programs met needs of low-income people or at-risk K-12 students and 72 new volunteer recruitment, management, and training processes supported these service programs.
VISTA Jess-Mara Jordan transformed the STRIVE mentoring program at Open Doors of Asheville into a UNCA service-learning class for credit, and created a mentor curriculum which includes training on cultural competency, non-parent role models, college exposure, and much much more. Jess also volunteered at “Open Doors’ Annual Art Auction” which raised $100,000.
VISTA Willie Jones turned his gleaning program into a gardening club to create a critical base of volunteers year-round. He and the new club members gleaned and secured 712.5 pounds of food this past quarter through the Fill-the-Bag Food Drive, which goes to the Community Table and other Cullowhee food pantries supporting over 25,000 people over the course of a year. His work was featured in this local news article. Apart from Willie’s primary gardening and food distribution projects, he also helped raise over $3,000 for “The Unbroken Circle” Fundraiser, to support the victims of the mudslide in Oso, Washington and their families in Western North Carolina. Willie also participated in the “Cullowhee Fire Fundraiser”, to benefit the victims of a fire which consumed 3 local businesses and left almost 30 workers displaced.
VISTA Brittany Johnson secured a building location for Hospitality House of Boone’s Thrift store! Once the store is operational, it will create a sustainable source of revenue for the organization. She is now developing a volunteer and recruitment program for volunteers to work at the store, teaming up with ACT to recruit Appalachian State University students. The 5k Memorial Day Fundraiser, notably named the “Color Blast”, will support start-up costs for the thrift store.
VISTA Jacob Lerner with the Marion Cheek Jackson Center in Chapel Hill piloted a landlord research team to better determine students’ relationships with landlords and what impact these relationships have on the community, and has also developed a student outreach team to help build networks among neighbors, learn more about what neighbors’ issues, and connect folks with information about the Jackson Center. Jacob also supports volunteer efforts at the Heavenly Groceries food ministry, which welcomes close to 80 people each day, who then go home and feed their families. Jacob also had $600 worth of food donated to feed 300 people for the Marion Cheek Jackson Center’s annual May Day Celebration.
HPU Bonner Leaders tutor students at
the Macedonia Family Resource Center
Photo Credit: HPU Bonner FB page
VISTA Anna Mahathey at High Point University worked with the Bonner Leaders Program to develop Bonners Chats, inviting students and community members alike to discuss and learn about poverty, food insecurity, and other social justice issues specific to High Point. Their Chats included topics entitled “Childhood Literacy, Poverty, & the Impact it has on Children in School,” , “Putting a Face on Homelessness,” and “Immigrant and Refugee Justice,” The chats engaged over 50 people.
VISTA Bevelyn Ukah at Guilford College launched the African Youth Initiative (AYI) Youth Advisory Board with 5 youth and 4 interns. In collaboration with the board, Bevelyn secured a $1,500 grant from the Community Foundation Teen Grantmaking Council to support AYI Youth Ambassador operational functions. This advisory board creates space for youth ownership, learning, and creativity, and has most recently been focusing on food security. They have partnered with the Food Youth Initiative through the Center for Environmental Farming Systems to discuss forming a community garden and supporting local food education.
VISTA Erin O’Donnell works with low-income Wilmington residents who not only participate in the Rent-A-Farmer CSA Produce Box program and Feast Down East’s Fresh Market, but who also collaborate in planning and implementing new Feast Down East Projects. Erin worked with local farmers to donate $265 worth of fresh organic produce to these programs as well.
VISTA Ariel Mitchell at Lenoir Rhyne hosted several food drives for her community partner, Centro Latino, her largest spanning 15 days to end on National Volunteer Week. They collected over 200 food items to support Centro Latinos’ emergency food bank.
VISTA Takira Dale at Duke University’s Community Service Center incorporated a donation drive into her Alternative Spring Break “Dive Into Durham”, to donate 150 hygiene kits for Urban Ministries of Durham.
PAGE program youth working on
digital media project
VISTA Elizabeth McIntosh recruited 7 interns to support the PAGE summer program, an educational enrichment program for which she recruited 30 middle school girls. The program is set to launch on June 17th. Elizabeth developed a new partnership with Hot Springs Learning Center, and received sponsorships from both local groups such as the Presbyterian Women’s Association, as well as groups at the corporate level including the Community Foundation of Central Florida. Most recently, she received a donation from a local family to start a Farm to Table initiative to address food insecurity in Madison County, and at PAGE’s summer camp, where the participants will learn about healthy eating and farming.
VISTA Camille Smith spearheaded the Wake Up and Read Book Drive, which collected over 67,000 children’s books to increase literacy in Wake County!
VISTA Sarah Cohn at the Community Empowerment Fund in Chapel Hill trained and supported 25 volunteer advocates this quarter, who in turn worked with 176 people experiencing homelessness to provide housing-related support. Forty-three of those 176 folks also attended financial literacy classes. Not only does Sarah match volunteers with clients, this quarter she also created an impact evaluation framework for CEF. The framework lays a foundation for CEF to improve data collection methods over time to better understand how CEF can meet client needs.
VISTA Shifra Sered recruited teachers and designed the program for “Arts on Third Street,” in which 40 low-income youth in west Greenville participated. Shifra’s primary achievement has been the creation of a 30 pag e volunteer manual and the design of a volunteer orientation to support educational programming at the Third Street Community Center.
Queens University mentor with his
Sedgefield Elementary mentee
VISTA Christina Hudson sustained mentor relationships of Queens University students as pen pals, lunch buddies, and after schoolcare tutors and classroom assistants to students at Sedgefield Elementary. These efforts were supported by the elementary school’s new emailing system informing volunteers of different opportunities to get involved. Christina also teamed up with Promising Pages to donate 398 books to Sedgefield, enough to start a new library.
The North Carolina Campus Compact VISTA impact spreads far and wide, and with it goes the word about AmeriCorps VISTA. One of our VISTAs shared, “I spread the word about AmeriCorps everywhere I go. I personally feel I can’t tell people what I do or am trying to do without promoting AmeriCorps.”
UNC Chapel Hill graduating Senior, Orlando Mendoza, accompanied by Dr. Ron Strauss, Executive Vice Provost and Chief International Officer.
Across North Carolina, spring commencements honor the diligence and achievements of graduates. Several member campuses reserve special recognition for engaged students during these celebrations.
At UNC Chapel Hill on May 9, the 251 members of the 10th class of Buckley Public Service Scholars were honored at a ceremony in Memorial Hall, highlighting their years of service while at Carolina. All graduates received a Carolina blue and white cord to wear at commencement on May 11 to represent their achievement. The Buckley Public Service Scholars program is open to all interested UNC Chapel Hill undergraduate students committed to making a positive impact through service. Participants must complete service-learning classes and other trainings, along with 300 hours of documented community service. While completing the program components, participants build portfolios reflecting their learning and unique experiences throughout North Carolina, the nation and the world. Read more about the 2014 graduating class of Buckley Public Service Scholars in the 2014 graduation bulletin.
UNC Asheville’s Community Engaged Scholars program honored 7 graduates this spring. The Community Engaged Scholar honor is one of five academic recognitions given to graduating students at UNCA. It provides the opportunity for students to become deeply involved in service-learning in Asheville and Western North Carolina — and receive recognition for their efforts. Key Center Program Coordinator Selena Hilemon notes, “We have seen an incredible growth of interest for the coming semesters. Since this is only the second year of the program, we hope to nurture it’s growth in the coming years.”
Community Engaged Scholars complete a number of activities during their time at UNCA, including 2 service-learning courses and the completion of a public service project and paper that appears in the university’s online Journal of Undergraduate Public Service Projects.
Western Carolina University’s new Lily Community Engagement Award graduated its first honoree in December 2013.
WCU senior Adam Ray receiving first Lily Award in December 2013.
This May, the program recognized 4 graduates. At least 5 other students have been working toward the honor in anticipation of their upcoming graduations.
To earn the Lily Award, WCU students have to earn 100 points by doing eligible service activities & reflecting on them. Most of the points come from direct service activities, but the students can also earn points through philanthropy or awareness programs. Students who earn the Lily Award are recognized with a certificate at an annual awards banquet. When they graduate, they get a green honors cord to wear with their regalia (if their GPA is 3.25 or above), they become honorary members of the Cullowhee Lily Society (through the Alumni Association), and they have a Cullowhee lily planted in their honor.
If your college or university has a service recognition honor for graduates, please contact email@example.com to share your program’s information.
Dear Friends of NC Campus Compact,
I write you today to express our sadness that as of May 31 Executive Director Lisa Keyne will be moving on to other exciting challenges. Dr. Keyne has accepted a position as Chief Strategy Officer for The Community Engagement Collaboratory, a web-based software application that tracks partnership and public-service activities between universities and communities. The Collaboratory will facilitate measurement of activities, identify patterns of engagement, and provide ongoing data collection to convene people and resources around important community priorities. The Collaboratory was created at UNCG and is being commercialized by Tree Top LLC. Dr. Keyne will also have an appointment as Senior Scholar to University of North Carolina Greensboro’s Institute for Community and Economic Engagement (ICEE). TreeTop and UNCG are joining forces to establish an international database and research program that will ensure data captured on The Collaboratory informs the future of community engagement scholarship and practice.
As you know, Lisa has served Campus Compact of North Carolina with dedication and distinction since 2006, and I know you join me in wishing her a most successful career ahead. She has taken our programs to new heights of excellence and leaves behind an able and skilled staff.
Effective June 1, 2014, Associate Director Leslie Garvin will serve as interim director as we search for a new executive director. One of my first tasks as the new chair of the Executive Board will be to help facilitate the creation of a search committee. I will ensure you are provided updates as we work through this important process for our Compact.
Thank you for your partnership in this important work.
Nido R. Qubein
Incoming Chair, NC Campus Compact Executive Board
President, High Point University
Many campuses work to fight against hunger in the local community, but a growing number of NC colleges and universities are grappling with the problem of food insecurity among their own students and staff. One way these schools are responding is through the creation of on-campus food pantries. Currently, twelve NC campuses host or are developing pantries.
Durham Tech collects items for its campus food pantry.
NC Campus Compact will convene a special webinar, “Establishing and Maintaining a Campus Food Pantry,” on Wednesday, May 21 at 2:00 PM. Our featured presenter will be Nate Smith-Tyge, Director of the Michigan State University Student Foodbank and co-founder of the College and University Food Bank Alliance. Now in its 21st year of operation, the MSU food bank is one of the oldest on-campus food pantries in the country. Smith-Tyge has led the food bank since 2010. The session will also be a chance for representatives of NC campus food banks to share their ideas and progress. All NC campuses are invited to register here for the online training.
Campus food pantries have gained increasing attention in our state. NC Central University in Durham has one of the newest programs after beginning food distribution last month. Durham Technical Community College started its campus food pantry in January 2013, and then-NC Campus Compact AmeriCorps VISTA Sally Parlier played a key role in the project. DTCC’s pantry has served hundreds of students since it opened, and it relies on a close relationship with a nearby community garden to add fresh produce to other donated food. A recent article in the Raleigh News & Observer explored the proliferation of these efforts, including pantries at NC State University and Meredith College. Another Raleigh school, Wake Technical Community College, opened its food pantry this past January. UNC Pembroke’s CARE Resource Center includes a campus pantry, professional clothing closet, computer lab, and other supports.
The CARE Resource Center at UNC Pembroke
Below is our list of NC campus food pantries. Please contact NC Campus Compact Associate Director Leslie Garvin (lgarvin[@]elon.edu) to learn more about the webinar session or to share information about a campus food pantry that is not on this list.
- Alamance Community College
- Catawba Valley Community College
- Durham Technical Community College
- Guilford College
- Guilford Technical Community College
- Meredith College
- NC Central University
- NC State University
- UNC Chapel Hill (in development)
- UNC Charlotte
- UNC Pembroke
- Wake Technical Community College
On April 22, 2014, UNC General Administration convened the first gathering of the UNC Engagement Council at their headquarters in Chapel, Hill, NC. Convened by Leslie Boney, Vice President for International, Community and Economic Engagement, and chaired by Jenni Harris, Assistant to the Chancellor for Community Partnerships at UNC Wilmington, this group is composed of civic engagement administrators from each of the 17-campuses comprising the UNC system. The Council will seek to be campus-driven and focus on sharing ideas, best practices and strategies related to connecting their institutions more effectively with communities. NC Campus Compact’s Lisa Keyne, Executive Director, and Leslie Garvin, Associate Director, were pleased to be in attendance for this seminal event.
The UNC system hired Boney in 2006 to bring together campus engagement coordinators to increase responsiveness to community needs, to increase UNC’s connectedness to the world, and boost international student recruitment and travel abroad, and to increase system-wide and regional economic development partnerships. Since 2011 he has organized a yearly UNC System Engagement Summit to discuss the importance of engagement to achieving institutional strategic goals as well as share tools for effectively measuring impact across the UNC system. Following the May 2012 Summit, UNC President Tom Ross commissioned two multi-campus taskforces to develop concise sets of indicators, or metrics, that all UNC campuses could use to assess “progress in community engagement and economic development.” The Community Engagement Metrics taskforce is chaired by Dr. Emily Janke, Special Assistant for Community Engagement, Institute for Community and Economic Engagement (ICEE) at UNC Greensboro.
During this inaugural meeting, the group discussed the questions each of their campuses have about community engagement, they reviewed the 2013-14 Community and Economic Engagement Metrics, discussed collaboration opportunities with NC Campus Compact, and began to develop a workplan for the group which plans to meet quarterly. Tom Ross, President of the UNC System, shared why community engagement matters to UNC with special emphasis that the Council not “forget the stories… as, coupled with the numbers and data, they are multipliers” to help the UNC System remain “a university of the people.”