Faculty & Staff


10th Anniversary


Campus staff explore asset-based engagement at summer network meetings


Guilford College’s James Shields shares a campus update at a recent network meeting.

The Compact recently hosted its summer network meetings at UNC Greensboro and Appalachian State. Over 60 community engagement and service-learning staff and faculty attended the free, members-only sessions. Our conversations explored a new resource developed by Minnesota Campus Compact – Asset-Based Community Engagement in Higher Education– as well as strong initiatives at member campuses. We also spent time discussing the value of our statewide network.

The practice of asset-based community development, or “ABCD,” has been around since the early 1990s, when Jody Kretzman and John McKnight published their influential guide, Building Communities from the Inside Out. (Kretzman was a keynote speaker at the Compact’s 2014 PACE Conference.) In Asset-Based Community Engagement in Higher Education, editors John Hamerlinck and Julie Plaut argue that an asset-based approach is essential to sustainable and successful civic and community engagement efforts. Joining the meetings via teleconference, Hamerlinck and Plaut led the groups in an exercise where we shared our own assets and deficiencies and then discussed issues colleges face in implementing asset-based and relationship-based engagement.

One exemplary ABCD project from North Carolina is featured in Hamerlinck and Plaut’s book: UNC Charlotte’s Charlotte Action Research Project (CHARP). Dr. Janni Sorenson and graduate student Tara Bengle’s chapter, “On the Path to Neighborhood Transformation: Social Capital, Physical Improvements, and Empowerment in Partnership,” tells the story of CHARP and its  partnership with community members in the Reid Park neighborhood. Over the course of four years, CHARP students and scholars and Reid Park residents have deliberately focused on neighborhood assets in their shared community development and action research work.

Network meeting attendees at Appalachian State were welcomed by new Chancellor Sheri Everts. Though she had only been on the job for 6 weeks, Chancellor Everts clearly shares the university’s commitment to community engagement. “It is one of the things that drew me to this chancellorship,” Everts told us, in a conference room across from the new offices of Appalachian and the Community Together (ACT).

Along with NC Campus Compact and other partners, Appalachian State will host the third annual NC Campuses Against Hunger Conference September 26-27.

At UNC Greensboro, Emily Janke, director of the Institute for Community and Economic Engagement, welcomed our group and shared news of her office’s recent agreement with TreeTop Commons (formerly Noble Hour) to develop the next version of the Collaboratory engagement database application.

UNCG’s Cathy Hamilton, who serves as the Book Editor of Partnerships, the Compact’s online, peer-reviewed journal, invited network staff to read and review new community engagement texts for the journal.

NC Campus Compact’s interim Executive Director Leslie Garvin shared information about national Campus Compact’s new leadership and priorities, as well as updates on state network conferences PACE and CEI, awards deadlines, and other initiatives, including the Campus Election Engagement Project to promotes student involvement in the 2014 midterms. Compact members and others can preview upcoming events and program deadlines on our calendar.

Staff members from Guilford College and Warren Wilson College shared positive and valuable experiences implementing the National Assessment of Service and Community Engagement on their campuses. A web-based survey for undergraduates developed by the Siena College Research Institute, the NASCE can measure an institution’s level of engagement by evaluating the rate, frequency and depth of student community service activities. Schools that are members of Campus Compact receive a special discount.

Many campuses also shared news of exiting community engagement projects and programs. Here is a sampling:

* Bennett College is planning to begin a Campus Kitchen project. Meredith College started its Campus Kitchen program last year, joining three other NC campuses with ongoing Campus Kitchen programs, including East Carolina University.

* Durham Technical Community College and Wake Technical Community College both have growing on-campus food pantry programs. WTCC recently joined the College and University Food Bank Alliance, joining DTCC and many other NC campuses.

* Elon University shared information about the school’s recently-opened Downtown Center for Community Engagement and the Bio Bus transportation program.  The bus’s new downtown loop facilitates travel to the downtown center and other key community partner agencies.

* NC State University will host the Compact’s CSNAP Student Conference this fall, November 7-8, in Raleigh.

* UNC Wilmington’s Office of Community Partnerships shared news of the university’s successful collaboration with Access Wilmington and other partners to build and support the Miracle Field and playground, accessible facilities that enable residents of all ages to participate in sports leagues and other activities.


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