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National Campus Compact announces new civic partnership initiative

National Campus Compact, along with the the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU), Education Commission of the States (ECS), and Generation Citizen – are launching an initiative to advance civic learning and student success across the education continuum.

The project is designed to support local education partnerships through an Action Summit and complementary learning communities. A key feature of the initiative is its team-based approach.

Building on the State Civic Education Policy Framework developed by ECS and the Action Civics curriculum of Generation Citizen, the consortium will bring together teams representing cities or regions to develop a collaborative approach for civic learning across all levels of education. Teams will include representatives from colleges or universities, K-12 systems or schools, and other appropriate local entities, such as local governments, local philanthropies, and youth-serving organizations. The central purpose of the partnerships is to make experiential civic learning an expected part of students’ education throughout school and college.

To support these efforts in communities across the country, Campus Compact and its partners will hold an Action Summit on November 18, 2015 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

The organizers are also offering mini-grants to support travel  and lodging expenses for participating teams. Mini-grant requests are due by September 30 to national Campus Compact.

For more information, review the complete “Call for Participation,” which includes instructions to apply for Summit travel mini-grants.

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Wingate University joins North Carolina Campus Compact

Wingate_sealWingate University is the newest member of the North Carolina Campus Compact network of engaged campuses.

“We are excited to welcome Wingate into the network,” says Leslie Garvin, executive director of North Carolina Campus Compact. “Through the work of groups like the student organization UCAN, Wingate puts its motto ‘Faith, Knowledge, Service’ into action.”

Wingate University serves more than 3,000 students on three campuses in Wingate, Charlotte and Hendersonville, N.C. Founded in 1896, the University offers 35 undergraduate majors, 37 minors and career concentrations, numerous pre-professional programs, graduate degrees in business, accounting, education, physician assistant studies and sport management, and doctorates in pharmacy, physical therapy and education.

North Carolina Campus Compact is one of 34 state and regional affiliates of the national Campus Compact network, headquartered in Boston and comprising nearly 1,000 schools. The national group was founded in 1985 by the presidents of Brown, Georgetown, and Stanford universities who sought – according to the group’s founding declaration–  to “challenge higher education to re-examine its public purposes and its commitments to the democratic ideal.”

Campus Compact is still a “presidential membership organization” today– the institution’s leader joins on behalf of the campus; and all faculty, staff, and students can take advantage of the network’s events, trainings, resources, and recognition.

Wingate’s new president Dr. T. Rhett Brown moved to join the Compact after becoming the university’s tenth president in June. As a first-generation college student, Wingate alumnus, and former member of the U.S. Naval Reserve who served in the first Gulf War, President Brown understands the role higher education can play in preparing students for lives of citizenship and service.

In the coming year, Wingate will implement W’Engage, a community engagement program for second year students outlined in the school’s new quality enhancement plan (QEP).  The goal of the QEP – and the program – is to “enhance and expand opportunities to connect people, ideas, and resources, promote positive social change and provide highly engaging and transformative learning experiences through community engagement and public service. Through domestic travel trips and active learning, students will be able to connect to local and national communities to address real-world challenges.”

Wingate University first joined the Compact in 2009, under Dr. Jerry McGee, who retired earlier this spring after 23 years as president. Wingate was an active participant in the network until 2011.

Compact members have received national recognition for connecting student learning and community involvement. Twenty of the 28 North Carolina institutions appearing on the federal 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll are members. Of the 18 North Carolina schools that have received the Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 17 are members of NC Campus Compact. The state ranks 5th among all states in the number of colleges and universities honored by the foundation.

The North Carolina network was founded in 2002 by presidents and chancellors from 14 institutions, including Elon University, which hosts the state office. Elon University President Leo M. Lambert served as the network’s first board chair and is a former member of the national Campus Compact board.

President Nido Qubein of High Point University is the current board chair.

“Institutions join Campus Compact of North Carolina with a will, a desire, a hope to make things better,” said Qubein. “Part of a holistic education is to be fully engaged to collaborate and work with others to make the community in which we live a better place. Wingate’s involvement will add measurably to our work across the state.”

Currently, 34 colleges and universities are members of the Compact, along with the NC Community College System Office and the NC Independent Colleges and Universities association.

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UNCA Chancellor named to national Campus Compact board

chancellor_grantMary K. Grant, Ph.D., Chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Asheville, was recently named Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Campus Compact, the nonprofit coalition of more than 1,100 college and university presidents – representing some 6 million students – who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education.

Dr. Grant assumed her post on July 1 and serves as one of two Vice Chairs, along with Dr. Shouan Pan, president of Mesa Community College in Arizona.

“I’m honored to serve as vice chair of the board of such an important coalition of colleges and universities,” said Mary K. Grant, Chancellor, UNC Asheville.  “The values of Campus Compact are at the very core of higher education’s service to the public good and I look forward to my new role with this outstanding organization as we continue the important work of putting those values to practice.”

At the same meeting, Campus Compact’s Board of Directors elected four new members: Dr. Charlene Dukes, president of Prince George’s Community College; Dr. Robert J. Jones, president of the University at Albany; Dr. Jean MacCormack, president of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate; and Dr. Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream, Inc.  All were elected to serve three-year terms.

“A respected colleague in higher education, Mary will be a great addition to our board’s leadership,” said Campus Compact Board Chair Richard Guarasci, Ph.D., president of Wagner College.  “Her expertise and dedication will help us ensure the effectiveness of our work as we look to advance initiatives to support campuses as they prepare students for lives of citizenship and develop strong community partnerships.”

The Campus Compact board consists of a distinguished group of college and university presidents from across the country representing all segments of higher education, as well as representatives from the philanthropic, business, and public interest communities.  The Board guides the organization in its mission of deepening higher education’s ability to improve community life and educate students for civic and social responsibility.

“Mary Grant is an insightful and experienced leader who is deeply committed to the public purposes of higher education,” said Campus Compact President Andrew J. Seligsohn, Ph.D.  “She has made major contributions to our network as Chair of the Board of Massachusetts Campus Compact and a member of our national board, and I am thrilled that she has agreed to take on this national leadership role.”

Grant was appointed UNC Asheville’s seventh chancellor in August 2014 and began leadership of UNC Asheville in January 2015. Before coming to Asheville, she served for 12 years as president of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), in North Adams, Massachusetts.

North Carolina Campus Compact Executive Director Leslie Garvin is excited that Dr. Grant is now part of the North Carolina network.

“My colleagues from Massachusetts Campus Compact have raved about Chancellor Grant and have told me how lucky we are to have her now in North Carolina,” says Garvin. “I spent some time with her at the national meeting in June and I can see that she is a great champion for higher education engagement.”

UNC Asheville first joined North Carolina Campus Compact (and thus national Campus Compact) in 2007 under former Chancellor Anne Ponder. The university is an active member of the statewide network, and service-learning and community engagement programs have continued to expand with support from offices like the Key Center for Service-Learning and the Office of School and Community Outreach Programs and Partnerships. For the past four years, the Key Center has hosted a North Carolina Campus Compact AmeriCorps VISTA to support the development of new campus-community partnerships and expand engagement opportunities like MLK Day of Service.

Grant holds a Ph.D. in social policy from The Heller School at Brandeis University, a master’s degree in public affairs from the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at UMass Boston, and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.  In 2012, Grant received an honorary degree from Williams College.

In addition to her work with Campus Compact, Grant’s service includes Campus Commonwealth Covenant Fund, MassINC, Norman Rockwell Museum, John Adams Innovation Institute, and University of Massachusetts Boston Board of Visitors, among others. She also served on the Massachusetts Governor’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Advisory Council and was chair of the Council of Presidents of the Massachusetts Statewide University System; chair of the board of the Massachusetts Campus Compact; and president of the board of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC), of which MCLA and UNC Asheville are members.

This post is an slightly edited version of a press release issued by national Campus Compact on July 22, 2015.

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Does service take a summer break? Not at these engaged campuses

When the summer is hot and students head home, faculty and staff might expect a chance to chill out. Instead, on many campuses across the NC Campus Compact network, community engagement doesn’t take a vacation. Colleges and universities support a wide variety of summer service opportunities – from full-time student internships with local nonprofits to special service orientation sessions for incoming first years.

Summer internship programs are a great way for students to gain meaningful experience and for nonprofit partners to staff up for special summer work. UNC-Chapel Hill’s APPLES summer internship program places about 30 students at local non-profits to work full-time for 8 to 10 weeks. Interns can earn one credit through an associated service-learning course administered by the School of Social Work, and they receive a stipend that is co-funded by APPLES and the non-profit partner.

In Queens University of Charlotte’s Summer in Service program, the summer internship experience takes a different form. Started in 2012, the program selects 5 to 10 Queens undergrads each summer to serve as a team.  Over the course of the summer, the students will work with a dozen partner agencies, serving one week (Monday – Thursday) with each organization. For their service, participants receive free on-campus housing over the summer.

Queens student Karla Lozano has chronicled the 2015 team’s work in her Summer in Service blog.

“[The program] serves two purposes,” says Pat Taft, director of the Center for Active Citizenship, the office that manages Summer in Service. “It’s great for the students to find their passion but it also helps to solidify our non-profit partnerships because these are dedicated students, they stay a whole week, they build relationships, and they build Queens’ reputation with the non-profit.”


UNCG students and staff prepare for a serveGSO summer workday.

UNC Greensboro’s new serveGSO program also helps build and preserve ties with non-profit partners during the summer months. The effort began last fall as a series of one-time service projects. North Carolina Campus Compact VISTA member Kali Hackett, working with UNCG’s Office of Leadership and Service-Learning (OLSL), started the program and continues to coordinate the summer series, which focuses on sustainable food and food security.

“We had so much success with the serveGSO model during the semester,” says Hackett. “When we were talking in March about how to engage students during the summer, we decided to continue the program but focus on food. There is so much farming, people want to get outside, and food insecurity is an issue in Guilford County. We want to show students the issue firsthand.”

The Campus Kitchen program has its focus clearly on food. At Elon University, Campus Kitchen staff and volunteers grow and harvest produce at the university’s on-campus farm, then use the produce to prepare over 200 meals each Tuesday. Most of the meals are delivered and served at the Allied Churches of Alamance County’s lunchtime feeding program.

At Wake Forest University, the Campus Kitchen program is busier than ever this summer, as it continues service to its ongoing partners and adds a new feeding site: a summer camp organized by Girls, Inc. NC Campus Compact VISTA member Natasha Vos credits the Campus Kitchen student interns for handling the increased work load – 30 breakfasts and 30 lunches each day – to feed the campers. This is despite working out of a new location while Campus Kitchen’s usual space in the (serendipitously named) Kitchen Residence Hall is being renovated.

On the food acquisition side of the Campus Kitchen mission, Vos has brokered a new partnership with Farmer Foodshare to purchase low-cost produce left on the stands at local farmers markets. The food can be re-used in Campus Kitchen meals or distributed to other partners.

Many campuses offer special service experiences for incoming first years. Elon University’s Pre-Serve program brings 25 new students to campus in June for a week-long, whirlwind community service tour.

Evan Small, Assistant Director for Student Programs at Elon’s Kernodle Center, directs Pre-Serve but points out the effort is a collaboration between many campus offices, including Greek Life, Residence Life, Campus Rec, and others.

pre-serve 5

Elon’s Pre-Serve program lets incoming students learn about the campus and community.

“The program introduces these new students to the university as a whole, to different organizations and communities within Alamance County, and to the multiplicity of options available for them to get involved,” says Small.

New students and transfers can take part in UNC-Chapel Hill’s Service-Learning Initiative, which runs for 3 days before fall classes begin. About 60 new students and 18 student leaders take part in the student-led, staff-supported orientation-style program. Participants move into their dorms early and pay a nominal fee of $60 to cover meals and transportation.

This year, student organizers chose to focus the experience on a unifying theme: “Food for All.” Participants will serve with food-related partner organizations and hear from guest speakers and experts as they learn about the campus and community life. The students take away real knowledge of the issue and partner organizations can accomplish special projects, but APPLES and related campus programs benefit as well.

“It’s kind of a leadership pipeline for us,” says Ryan Nilsen, a program officer at the Carolina Center for Public Service. “We find that about half of APPLES student organizers were part of SLI. So it’s one way that we’re trying to reach students early and bringing them in as potential student leaders.”

Update 7/23/2015:

We also wanted to share these amazing service programs making a difference this summer in North Carolina and beyond. :

UNC Pembroke Summer Community Internship Program – The North Carolina State Employees Credit Union Foundation has agreed to provide 20 student internships for UNC Pembroke students this summer, with a total investment of up to $100,000. Under the program, SECU interns will help local governments, non-profit organizations, businesses and other agencies in this rural community.

Elon Academy – a college access and success program for academically promising high school students in Alamance County with a financial need and/or no family history of college. The Academy includes three consecutive summer residential experiences prior to the sophomore, junior and senior years, as well as year-round Saturday programs for students and families.

The Campus Kitchen at East Carolina University – like Campus Kitchen programs at Elon and Wake Forest, the Campus Kitchen at ECU keeps feeding hungry kids and families over the summer with help from summer student interns and local volunteers.

DukeEngage – provides full funding for select Duke undergraduates who wish to pursue an immersive summer of service in partnership with a U.S. or international community. As of summer 2015, more than 3,000 Duke students have volunteered through DukeEngage in 79 nations on six continents. A former DukeEngage project near and dear to our VISTA program’s heart is the Partnership for Appalachian Girls Education in Madison, NC.

Please send your campus highlights of summer engagement to


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Jonas, Oliphant selected as first Engaged Faculty Scholars

Drs. Annie Jonas (L) and Ashley Oliphant (R) were selected as Engaged Faculty Scholars.

Drs. Annie Jonas (L) and Ashley Oliphant (R) are the first Engaged Faculty Scholars.

Service-learning faculty members are uniquely positioned at the intersection of teaching and community engagement to help colleges and universities realize the values of the engaged campus. These faculty members draw on their disciplinary expertise, their pedagogical acumen, and their interest in the world beyond the classroom to build partnerships and programs that give students access to meaningful community-based learning experiences.

Our two inaugural Engaged Faculty Scholars — Dr. Annie Jonas of Warren Wilson College and Dr. Ashley Oliphant of Pfeiffer University — epitomize this commitment to students’ academic and civic growth.

As Engaged Faculty Scholars, both Jonas and Oliphant will fill a dual role: leading a project to deepen the scholarship of campus-community engagement at their own institution, and serving as a consultant to support faculty development at another campus in the North Carolina Campus Compact network.

NC Campus Compact Executive Director Leslie Garvin conceived the new scholars program as a way to support outstanding faculty and encourage them to share their service-learning expertise.

“Over the years, we’ve learned so much about the great research and partnerships our faculty are engaged in,” Garvin says. “The Compact already supports faculty through our annual PACE Conference and our online, peer-reviewed journal Partnerships, but the Engaged Scholars program provides a new opportunity for faculty members to deepen their engagement and to strengthen our network.”

As chair of the education department at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, Dr. Jonas has incorporated community engagement partnerships with local and regional K-12 schools into all her undergraduate courses. A new project in 2014 included a semester-long learning partnership between her First Year Seminar students and 3rd graders at a local public school. Dr. Jonas Jonas received the Andy Summers Award for Excellence in Service Learning in 2013 and currently serves as the Faculty Liaison to Service-Learning through the Service Program office at Warren Wilson.

For her Engaged Faculty Scholars project at Warren Wilson, Dr. Jonas will examine how the college’s First Year Seminar (FYS) can address concepts of civic identity. She will explore the developmental qualities and needs of first year students in relation to civic identity and then connect this understanding to the community engagement component of FYS courses. This new understanding will assist faculty who teach FYS courses and also support the launch of the college’s new general education program that emphasizes community engagement.

At Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer, Associate Professor of English Dr. Ashley Oliphant will also focus on the first year experience. Oliphant will restructure the Introduction to College Writing course (the first in the first-year writing sequence) to include a significant service-learning component requiring real-world writing grounded in sustained direct service. The first-year “Pfeiffer Journey” seminars will provide the space for the service, the Francis Center for Servant Leadership will offer logistical and financial support, and English Department faculty will facilitate the reflections, writing and grading of the program.

Oliphant has been a service-learning practitioner for more than a decade. She has used her first-year writing courses to explore a series of diverse themes, including animal welfare, advocacy and mentoring. For the past six years, Oliphant has also directed the Francis Center for Servant Leadership; and she served as the institutional writer for Pfeiffer’s latest Carnegie reclassification application and the university’s applications to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

Jonas and Oliphant were competitively selected from a strong pool of faculty applicants from across the statewide network. In August, the Compact will identify the campuses where the Engaged Scholars will serve as faculty engagement consultants.

The Engaged Faculty Scholars receive a stipend and professional development package valued at $2500, and host institutions are encouraged to provide additional support or course release. In addition to their proposed project and consulting work, the scholars will have opportunities to share their research at the network’s annual Pathways to Achieving Civic Engagement (PACE) Conference for faculty and to submit work for publication in the Compact’s online peer-reviewed journal Partnerships.

Learn more about program and about the 2015-2016 Engaged Faculty Scholars.


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NC Campus Compact welcomes new VISTA program coordinator


New VISTA  coordinator Carolyn Byrne.

NC Campus Compact welcomes Carolyn Byrne as our new VISTA Program Coordinator. Byrne brings a bevy of public service and higher education experience to the role. She served two terms as an NC Campus Compact AmeriCorps VISTA in UNC’s APPLES Service-Learning Program (2009-2011); worked as a student services specialist at UNC’s Carolina Center for Public Service; and recently completed a Masters in counseling at UNC Greensboro.

Just as she is familiar with AmeriCorps, Byrne is no stranger to Elon University, which hosts the Compact’s state office. An Elon alumna (’09), Byrne got her start in campus-community engagement as an undergraduate leader in the Alternative Breaks and LINCS programs at the Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement.

As VISTA program coordinator, Byrne will support a cohort of 18 full-time VISTA volunteers building campus-community partnerships at 13 campus and community sites.

“When this position became available… it felt like coming home to AmeriCorps,” says Byrne. “But also it was a chance to take four years of experience and new skills and understanding of personal and professional development and take that up a notch in working with VISTAs across the state.”

As a VISTA and later staff member at UNC Chapel Hill’s APPLES Service Learning Program and the Carolina Center for Public Service, Byrne helped expand community-based serving learning placements and student internships. Byrne oversaw student leadership teams for alternative breaks and internships, managing more than 150 community partnerships in the process. In May 2013, she was honored with UNC’s Student Undergraduate Staff Award.

In her most recent work at UNC Greensboro, Byrne worked as a graduate assistant and counseling intern at the Students First Office, where she provided academic counseling services and helped coordinate other interventions for struggling students.

Byrne is looking forward to working with VISTA members but also with supervisors and community partners.

“At UNC, my role involved working deeply with community partners and getting to see what they were working toward and supporting their mission with the institution’s resources … it felt like good and meaningful work,” Byrne recalls. “I reflect back on how impactful those relationships were but also how long and how much intention it takes to build them.”

“I’m excited to think about how to make NC Campus Compact an important part of the VISTA experience and a resource for VISTAs and supervisors.”

Chad Fogleman, who has managed the Compact’s VISTA program since 2012, will remain with the organization in the expanded role of assistant director, overseeing communications, network events, awards, and other programs. Learn more about our staff.

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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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