Faculty & Staff


10th Anniversary



Celebrating 50 years of VISTA

This year AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Often described as a domestic version of the Peace Corps, the VISTA program has engaged thousands of citizens in the fight against poverty since the first volunteers began service in 1965. To honor the occasion, VISTAs past and present gathered in Greensboro, North Carolina on June 20th for a day of service, reflection, and fellowship.


Poet and teacher Joseph Bathanti served as a VISTA in Charlotte from 1976-77.

Over 60 people came to the Lifespan Creative Campus for the celebration. Lifespan is a nonprofit organization that provides education, employment, and enrichment opportunities to empower children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live, work and play in their communities.

VISTA alumni and members whose service spanned the 1960s to the present day worked  together at the Creative Campus. The campus includes a garden, walking paths, and gazebo for Lifespan clients to enjoy. Participants in the service painted garden picnic tables, weeded the walkway, and cleaned the gazebo area.

The service project was followed by a luncheon and remarks from VISTAs past and present. The keynote speaker, Joseph Bathanti, served as VISTA in Charlotte, NC from 1976-1977. Bathanti worked with prison inmates, teaching writing, developing relationships, and ensuring that prisoners would be successful after their release.

Mr. Bathanti’s experience as a VISTA heavily influenced his personal and creative life. He met his wife Joan, a fellow VISTA, working the same project, and joked that he likes “to tell people I met my wife in prison.” A Pittsburgh native, Bathanti went on to become North Carolina Poet Laureate; he now teaches creative writing at Appalachian State University. Mr. Bathathi read poems from a collection titled “Concertina,” a reference to the swirling wire that tops prison fences. His reflections on service reminded us why VISTA is such powerful and transformative experience.

Mr. Bathanti’s remarks were followed by VISTA alumnus K’aia Clarke who served with MDC in Durham from 2012-2014 and current VISTA member Leah Parks who serves at the Lifespan Creative Campus. Together the speakers made a strong case for the value of national service, not just for its cost-effective impact in communities but also for the opportunity these assignments provide to the individuals who accept them. Nationwide coalitions like Service Nation and the Franklin Project are working to preserve AmeriCorps VISTA and other service programs in the face of recent efforts to reduce or eliminate these programs.

Among the VISTA projects participating in the event were current and former members and staff from NC Campus Compact, Peacehaven Farm, Welfare Reform Liaison Project, Fayetteville State University’s Office of College Access, and the Collaborative.

The day was organized by the NC state office of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Post authored by NC Campus Compact VISTA Leader Catherine Casteel, photos by VISTA Leader Perdita Das

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WCU’s Perry honored with American Democracy Project’s Saltmarsh Award


Perry was recognized by NC Campus Compact in spring 2015.

Dr. Lane Perry, director of service-learning at Western Carolina University, has received the 2015 John Saltmarsh Award for Emerging Leaders in Civic Engagement during AASCU’s American Democracy Project annual meeting in New Orleans. The Saltmarsh Award is presented to an emerging leader in the civic engagement field from an AASCU institution or ADP Partner. Perry joins fellow North Carolinian Dr. Emily Janke, director of the Institute for Community and Economic Engagement (ICEE) at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, who received the Saltmarsh Award in 2012. Western Carolina and UNCG are both members of North Carolina Campus Compact.

This national recognition for Perry follows his receipt earlier this spring of the NC Campus Compact 2015 Civic Engagement Professional of the Year Award, which recognizes a staff person in the network who has worked towards the institutionalization of service, created and strived towards a vision of service on their campus, supported faculty and students, and formed innovative campus-community partnerships. Perry was honored in the Emerging Leaders category.

The American Democracy Project (ADP), an initiative of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), honored Perry and three other leaders in civic engagement during the 2015 ADP/TDC/NASPA Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting in New Orleans. Three ADP awards were presented: The Barbara Burch Award for Faculty Leadership in Civic Engagement; The William M. Plater Award for Leadership in Civic Engagement; and The John Saltmarsh Award for Emerging Leaders in Civic Engagement.

“We’re thrilled to honor these outstanding individuals whose work represents the richness of civic learning and democratic engagement taking place on our campuses and in our communities,” says Jennifer Domagal-Goldman, director of AASCU’s American Democracy Project. “The 2015 civic engagement award recipients’ work reflects the efforts needed to ensure that we in higher education are preparing the next generation of informed, engaged citizens for our democracy.”

Patrick Dolenc, a professor of economics at Keene State College (N.H.), received the Barbara Burch Award for Faculty Leadership in Civic Engagement. Michael Vaughan, provost and vice president of academic affairs at Weber State University (Utah), was honored as recipient of the William M. Plater Award for Leadership in Civic Engagement.

Perry was one of two winners of the Saltmarsh Emerging Leaders Award, joining Adam Bush, the chief academic officer of College Unbound.

“Both recipients are engaged in path-breaking civic engagement work that advances the deeply democratic purposes of higher education. We want to encourage more emerging leaders with their example,” says John Saltmarsh. The award was created in honor of John Saltmarsh, co-director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston, as a tribute to his dedication to nurturing the next generation of civic leaders.


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What students leave behind, others put to good use

Move-out and graduation are hectic times as students scramble to finish exams, clean out dorm rooms, and pack for home, travel, or summer jobs. On some campuses, this haste does not make waste, because students and staff organize programs to collect and donate cast-off items.

Appalachian State University’s massive Don’t Throw It Away campaign began in 2001 to reduce waste produced by students during move out week and to raise awareness about sustainability. Starting on reading day, teams of student volunteers organize a week of collection events, visiting collection points in lobbies of campus residence halls and manning drop-off points across campus. This year, more than 230 volunteers gave more than 1000 hours to the effort, which ran from May 2 – May 9. The 2015 haul is still being tallied, but in each of the past two years, Don’t Throw It Away has yielded more than 70 tons of donated material.

What happens to all that stuff? At Appalachian State, the items are sorted and stored all summer in the university’s on-campus nightclub, Legends.


Over 230 volunteers collected donated items for Appalachian State’s “Don’t Throw it Away” campaign this year.

“This is such an amazing event,” says Thomas Evans, Assistant Director of Community Service, who oversees the project at the ACT Office. The ACT Office works with University Housing, the Office of Sustainability, and other units to pull off the annual event.  “You can really see the impact as the space in Legends starts to fill up!”

While students return in the fall, the items are sold at the Big Sale.” Since 2001, the sale has generated more than $100,000 in funding to support the university’s local non-profit partners. Since 2007, these funds are granted to selected partners to support energy efficiency upgrades, further highlighting sustainability issues.

According to Evans, community agencies value the chance to invest in energy efficiency, which frees up funds for human services that would otherwise go to overhead. For example, some of the proceeds from the upcoming Big Sale will support the local Habitat Restore. The non-profit will use Big Sale funds to install efficient lighting in its three local warehouses. Evans says the Restore estimates these improvements could save more than $700/month in energy costs.

At UNC-Chapel Hill, the “Tarheel Treasure” event lets students donate re-usable and recyclable items. According to UNC officials cited in a recent news report, the program has diverted more than 200 tons of material from landfills since it began in 2009.

Since 2009, Elon University has run its Don’t Trash It program during move-out week. In residence halls and at Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity collection trucks parked on campus, students can donate home goods, clothing, electronics, and non-perishable food. In 2014, Don’t Trash It! efforts resulted in 10,060 pounds of goods to Goodwill, 6 truckloads of furniture to Habitat for Humanity, 1,486 lbs. of food to Allied Churches and about 430 lbs. of bedding to First Presbyterian Church.

UNC Greensboro sells the items collected from students during move-out week at its annual Cram and Scram Yard Sale.” A recent news article explains how the program is intended to divert usable items and materials that would otherwise go straight to the landfill. Because every item is sold for 50 cents, crowds line up early to wait for the Elliot University Center doors to open. Any unsold items are donated to local non-profits.

For those seeking tips on organizing a similar move-out donation drive, check out “Give and Go! Planning a College Move-Out Donation Drive Technical Guide” released by Keep America Beautiful in February 2015. UNC Chapel-Hill Housing Facilities Manager and Tarheel Treasure program director Deborah Bousquet contributed to the document.

UPDATE on 6/15/15: More news of campus donation efforts. Goodwill of Northwest North Carolina received nearly 30 tons of donated items from 12 colleges, universities, and boarding schools that took part in the “Ditch ‘n Dash” program! Participating schools included four campuses in our network: Wake Forest University, Western Carolina University, UNC Asheville, and Lenoir-Rhyne University. Wake Forest University alone collected just over 10 tons of donations. Read the Goodwill NWNC press release.

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National Campus Compact sets new course for network

CC30th_croppedNorth Carolina Campus Compact is one of 34 state and regional affiliates of national Campus Compact. Founded in 1985 by the presidents of Brown, Georgetown and Stanford Universities and the president of the Education Commission of the States, our national coalition has grown to include nearly 1,100 colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. In 2014, Dr. Andrew Seligsohn took over as president of the national network, headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. Since then Campus Compact has moved to implement a new strategic plan, improve public communication, and update a keystone document in the run-up to a 30th anniversary event in 2016.

The Compact’s new strategic plan reaffirms our mission and calls on us to build upon our strong foundation of work to expand and deepen our efforts and impact both locally and nationally. The plan provides a roadmap to catalyze collaboration, develop the field and its leaders, and leverage resources to further advance civic engagement in higher education. Over the next five years, our network will focus efforts to:

  • Establish meaningful, reciprocal community partnerships – support and highlight strong, sustainable, democratic partnerships between higher education and community organizations for positive impact on society
  • Improve college access and retention – demonstrate that civic engagement is a vehicle for positively impacting an individual ability to access and achieve post secondary education
  • Enhance college readiness in K to 12 education – improve and strengthen young people’s ability to have successful college careers
  • Better prepare college students for their careers and for society – educate the next generation of citizens to be active and responsible participants in our democracy

Dr. Seligsohn and the national team have also been working to improve public communication. This spring, national unveiled an updated logo and website, In his new blog, Public Purpose, Seligsohn reflects on the role of Campus Compact and wrestles with the issues of the day in higher education. For example, in one recent post, Dr. Seligsohn considers what we know about the “nuts and bolts” of university : community partnerships, citing an article in the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement by UNC Charlotte researchers Morrell, Sorensen, and Howarth. The authors describe employing graduate students to support action research partnerships in Charlotte communities.

In addition to making new plans and raising new voices, national Campus Compact is engaging institutional leaders to affirm and extend one of the organization’s founding documents, the original Presidents’ Declaration on the Civic Responsibility of Higher Education. This spring, state affiliates — including NC Campus Compact — began working with member presidents and chancellors to outline  “action commitments” that build on the promise of the Presidents’ Declaration. This new statement will be affirmed by the leaders of member institutions at a summit of chancellors and presidents celebrating Campus Compact’s thirtieth anniversary in March of 2016. As part of its summit planning, the national office has issued a Call for Proposals.

A number of ongoing projects supported by the national office are worth noting. A new report – Three Decades of Institutionalizing Change – shares the results of the 2014 survey of Campus Compact member institutions. (In an upcoming NC Campus Compact news post, we’ll break down the North Carolina results and compare with national responses.) National is accepting nominations for the 2015 Thomas Erlich Faculty Award for Service through May 22.  And a nationally-supported program, “Connect 2 Complete,” designed to increase retention of at-risk community college students through peer mentoring and community engagement, was spotlighted last month in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Executive Director Leslie Garvin is excited about these new directions. “With the strong leadership of the national staff and Board, Campus Compact is poised and ready to reclaim our position as the premiere national organization promoting the public purposes of higher education,” says Garvin. “I think our statewide Compact is already strong, but given the critical challenges so many communities face, we can continue to benefit from innovation and leadership from national.”

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New issue of Partnerships examines challenge of teaching “democratic thinking”

Partnerships Logo_P onlyThrough Campus Compact, colleges and universities pledge their commitment to educating engaged citizens – but how can teachers help students learn to think in ways that prepare them for active participation in a democratic society?

At the intersection of political and moral philosophy and pedagogy, a new special issue of the online journal Partnerships offers a critical examination of the challenge of teaching democratic thinking– the challenge, as guest editors Stephen Bloch-Schulman and Patricia Rogers write, of “how to prepare students for the kind of politics that would counteract the larger forces that lead to thoughtlessness.”

Partnerships: A Journal of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement is a peer-reviewed, online journal hosted by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and sponsored in part by NobleHour. Join more than 1500 subscribers in exploring the latest issue. (Readers must create a free account to access full-text articles.) The newest edition — Volume 6 Number 1 (2015) — includes:

  • “Community Building in the Classroom: Teaching Democratic Thinking through Practicing Democratic Thinking” by Danielle Lake (Grand Valley State University)
  • “What Kind of Community? An Inquiry into Teaching Practices that Move beyond Exclusion”  by Stephen Bloch-Schulman (Elon University), J. F. Humphrey (North Carolina Agricultural and Technological State University), Spoma Jovanovic (University of North Carolina at Greensboro), Hollyce “Sherry” Giles (Guilford College), Dan Malotky (Greensboro College), Audrey Campbell (Bennett College)
  • From Teaching Democratic Thinking to Developing Democratic Civic Identity” by Robert Bringle (Appalachian State University), Patti Clayton (PHC Ventures), Kathryn E. Bringle (Burke Rehabilitation Hospital)
  • “Bringing Organizations Back In: Perspectives on Service-Learning, Community Partnership and Democratic Thinking in a Voter Engagement Project” by Jennifer Jackman and Tiffany Gayle Chenault (Salem State University), Joy Winkler (University of Massachusetts Boston)
  • “Service-Learning and the ‘Real World’ of Classroom Politics” by Oren Abeles (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
  • “Rooting the Study of Communication Activism in an Attempted Book Ban” by Spoma Jovanovic (University of North Carolina at Greensboro), Mark Congdon Jr.(University of Maine), Crawford Miller (York Street CrossFit), Garrett Richardson (Young Innovators, Inc.)          
  • “‘The Science of Liberty is Not So Simple': Teaching Democratic Thinking in Revolutionary France” by Adrian O’Connor (University of South Florida St. Petersburg)        
  • I Am Not Trying to Be Defiant, I Am Trying to Be Your Partner: How to Help Students Navigate Educational Institutions That Do Not Value Democratic Practice” by Stephen Bloch-Schulman (Elon University), maggie castor (University of British Columbia)
  • “Asking Another Question: Democratic Thinking Inside and Outside the Classroom – A Forthcoming Interview with Elizabeth Minnich and Si Kahn” by Stephen Bloch-Schulman (Elon University)


Partnerships is now accepting submissions for the 2016 spring/summer issue. Manuscripts will be sent out for peer review upon receipt, pending the editor’s initial review. Our multidisciplinary, open access periodical provides scholars a forum for publishing research surrounding campus-community partnerships and collaborations in service-learning and community engagement projects. Research articles reflect diverse methodologies and theoretical perspectives. Essays that contribute new knowledge, address current issues, or highlight unique perspectives, anchored in a literature base, are also accepted for publication consideration. All work submitted should be original material not under review elsewhere, with a recommended  length of 8-13 single spaced pages excluding abstract and references. Learn more about the journal and its submission guidelines.

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NC mayors join day of recognition for national service

2015MayorsDay-GraphicToday, April 7, more than 2,600 mayors and local officials across the country are acknowledging the power of national service. These leaders know that service – including AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA – can be a cost-effective strategy to address local challenges. By unleashing the power of citizens, national service programs have a positive and lasting impact – making our cities and counties better places to live.

The 2015 Mayors and County Day of Recognition for National Service is led by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the National League of Cities, and Cities of Service. Last year, in the second-annual Mayors Day event, 1,760 mayors representing more than 110 million citizens participated.

This year in North Carolina, 49 local officials from 43 cities and counties have signed on to recognize the value of service. Our own North Carolina Campus Compact AmeriCorps VISTA members are making a difference in several of these communities. We thank all these leaders for supporting national service. A few examples can show why local officials would take this stance.

In the Town of Chapel Hill, Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt recognizes the value of national service. There our VISTA member Matt Kauffmann serves at the Community Empowerment Fund (CEF), training college students as mentors to CEF clients experiencing homelessness. Matt has matched 230 volunteer mentors with CEF clients, who are breaking the cycle of poverty with CEF assistance. At the Marian Cheek Jackson Center, VISTA member George Barrett has helped preserve community in the historically black neighborhood of Northside. At the Jackson Center, George has worked with UNC Chapel Hill law students to create a wills clinic that teaches home owners how to keep homes in their family. George has led volunteer teams to make repairs to 19 houses in the neighborhood, ensuring the safety of long term residents.

In the City of Greensboro where Mayor Nancy Vaughan supports service, UNCG VISTA Kali Hackett has worked to strengthen an ongoing partnership with the Interactive Resource Center. At the IRC, Kali has worked with clients and staff to develop a new financial literacy program which began this month, and she has helped streamline volunteer management processes. At UNCG, Kali helped organize campus-wide service events ­­— including Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service — that have engaged over 140 campus and community volunteers.

Mayor Bill Benicini acknowledges the difference service makes in the City of High Point. There, High Point University VISTA members Anna Mahathey, Adekemi Ademuyewo, and Shannon Barr are working to help low-income communities access resources. Anna has been working with West End Ministries for two years to improve services and plan a community garden. Having secured land for the garden, Anna is now working with a community-led team to design the space. Adekemi and Shannon are working with the Washington Street Project, supporting two afterschool programs with the help of faculty from High Point University. Our VISTAs have recruited over 50 HPU student volunteers to work as tutors and have worked on Washington Street to establish relationships and trust. In January, the VISTA team organized an MLK Day of Service event that engaged over 600 college and community volunteers in service projects throughout the city.

Other participating officials from localities where our AmeriCorps VISTA members serve include:

Asheville Mayor Esther
Boone Mayor Andy Ball
Elon Mayor Jerry Tolley
Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane
Wilmington County Manager Chris Couriet
Winston-Salem Mayor James Allen Joines

NC Campus Compact member campuses know that civic and community engagement is a win-win: college students who are engaged achieve greater academic success, gain real-world skills, and learn the duties of citizenship; and communities take advantage of higher education resources to solve problems and improve local quality of life. Our AmeriCorps VISTA members work every day to make this happen in cities and counties throughout the state.

Thanks to all the mayors and local officials who have acknowledged their efforts!

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Campus Compact recognizes 3 NC students as Newman Civic Fellows

Boston, MA – The national Campus Compact network has recognized three North Carolina students as 2015 Newman Civic Fellows: UNC Charlotte’s Sarah Whitmire, Elon University’s Nicole Molinaro, and UNC Asheville’s Runda Alamour. These students are among the 201 Newman Fellows from 36 states and the District of Columbia to be honored for making an investment in their communities through service, research, and advocacy.

Newman Civic Fellows are nominated by college or university presidents whose institutions are part of the Campus Compact network. This year saw a record number of students recognized.

“These students represent the next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders. They serve as national examples of the role that higher education can—and does—play in building a better world,” said Dr. Richard Guarasci, chair of the Campus Compact board and president of Wagner College (NY).

Elon University Newman Fellow Nicole Molinaro

Elon University Newman Fellow Nicole Molinaro

Elon University senior Nicole Molinaro has distinguished herself through service and advocacy related to international human rights and democratic participation. She taught English in Palestine and interned with social justice organizations in Jordan. At Elon, she led voter engagement campaigns and was president of the model United Nations.

In his nomination, President Leo Lambert praised Molinaro’s “deep” involvement in international social issues as well as her “intellectual curiosity, personal charisma, dedication to justice and ability to inspire her peers.”

UNC Asheville senior Runda Alamour is committed to education that respects differences and

UNC Asheville Newman Fellow Runda Alamour

UNC Asheville Newman Fellow Runda Alamour

builds community. As president of the statewide Student North Carolina Association of Educators, she has tutored in local schools, organized anti-bullying workshops, and led rallies in support of NC public education. Recently, Alamour organized a campus vigil and community conversation in honor of students killed in Chapel Hill.

“Whether it is in the classroom, in the community, or in statewide programming, Runda epitomizes the equity and advocacy that she so deeply values,” said UNC Asheville Chancellor Mary Grant.

UNCC Newman Fellow Sarah Whitmire

UNCC Newman Fellow Sarah Whitmire

UNC Charlotte’s Sarah Whitmire is a third-year student who stands out for her on-campus and community-based health research. She has worked with faculty, with practitioners in Carolinas Healthcare System, and most notably with a group of women experiencing homelessness through a two-year community-based research project.

UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip Dubois wrote, “Although she has explored the relationship between health behaviors, education, and outcomes in multiple settings, she has always been driven to understand the intersection between the patient, the protocol, and the system.”

Named in honor of Dr. Frank Newman, one of the founders of Campus Compact, the award is sponsored by the KPMG Foundation. In keeping with their generation’s emphasis on networks over hierarchies, Newman Civic Fellows will share ideas and materials to further their work through an exclusive online community especially for Fellows.

“We are proud to support Campus Compact in bringing attention to these extraordinary students,” said Bernard J. Milano, president of the KPMG Foundation and Campus Compact board member. “KPMG seeks a diverse talent pool of students who share our values, one of which involves service to the communities in which we live and work.”

Learn more about the national Campus Compact and the 2015 Newman Civic Fellows.


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