Arpita Vora ’16 clicks through a website that seeks to raise awareness about the hardships faced by low-income families in North Carolina. Middlesex United Way, the organization at which Vora was placed through the Center for Community Partnerships’ yearlong pilot Nonprofit Board Residency Program, is hoping to create a similar site using data from Connecticut.
Tag Archive for civic engagement
by Olivia Drake •
In this Q&A meet Alicia Gansley from the Class of 2015. (Story by Rosy Capron ’14, civic engagement fellow at Wesleyan’s Allbritton Center.)
Q: Alicia, what are you majoring in?
A: I’m majoring in computer science and I’m also completing the economics minor and Civic Engagement Certificate.
Q: Last fall, you brought your programming knowledge to COMP 342: Software Engineering, a service-learning course where groups of computer science majors develop special projects for local organizations. Tell us more about your project.
A: My group made a web application for Green Street Teaching and Learning Center to use to sign students up for one of its after school programs. Our system will allow Green Street to collect students’ contact information and course preferences, as well as allow the staff to keep track of this information throughout the semester.
Q: How did the experience of working on a project for an organization differ from working on a project for a typical academic course? Were there unexpected rewards and challenges that came with having a client?
A: It was a real pleasure working closely with Sara MacSorley at Green Street and learning more about their facility and programs. Part of what struck me about working on a project for a client was the fact that you can never just say “90 percent is enough.” We needed to always figure out some way to meet their specifications, which I think pushed the team to really learn and work together.
by Lauren Rubenstein •
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has selected Wesleyan to receive its 2015 Community Engagement Classification.
“Wesleyan has always been a place where involvement with the world was important, but in the past decade or two we have truly become a much more ‘engaged university’ in many ways, and that’s good for everyone—students, faculty, staff and our community partners,” said Rob Rosenthal, director of the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, the John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology. “This kind of recognition from our peers across the country reinforces our belief that we’re doing valuable work drawing together community and university.”
by Kate Carlisle •
You’d be surprised by what people don’t know about Wesleyan’s community engagement and service programs.
Or, what people think they know.
“Students and others think that community service at Wesleyan is an individual, versus a university effort, or just one semester for one student, on their own,” said Cathy Lechowicz, director of the Center for Community Partnerships.
A new publicity campaign launched by the CCP last month aims to fix those misimpressions.
The reality is that Wesleyan has a broad community engagement plan that ranges from hiring local contractors and sourcing local food to providing volunteers to Middletown service agencies, Lechowicz said.
The publicity campaign, “Did You Know” highlights little-known facts about community engagement twice a week on WesLive Community Blog, the Middletown Eye and social media. “Like” the CCP’s Facebook site online here.
Dana Pellegrino ’12, who is spending the year as the CCP’s civic engagement fellow, hopes the campaign will draw attention not only to how Wesleyan students can participate in service projects, but to “the larger community engagement piece,” and how Wes interacts with the Middletown residents, businesses and agencies.
Among the first “Did You Know” facts:
*The Wesleyan Quantitative Analysis Center offers a course in which students provide free statistical consulting to local community service agencies.
*During the 2007 construction of the Usdan Center, the university hired more than 10 local labor companies.
*The Fast-a-Thon, an annual student run benefit, has raised more than $50,000 over the past five years to benefit Amazing Graze Food Pantry. Nearly half the student body participates.
Combining the assets of the Service-Learning Center, the Office of Community Service and Volunteerism, the Office of Community Relations and the Green Street Arts Center, the CCP seeks to serve the development of both the individual and the community, guided by principles of mutual respect and shared responsibility. See the CCP’s website for more information.
by Olivia Drake •
Q: Dana, you’re Wesleyan’s first Civic Engagement Fellow. How do you describe your role?
A: As the Civic Engagement Fellow, I focus on promoting civic engagement throughout the entire university, with students, faculty and staff. While the focus may be broad, I mainly work with two specific centers: the Center for Community Partnerships, under Director Cathy Lechowicz, and the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship, under Director Paul Gagnon. At CCP, I’m primarily involved in informing students about the many opportunities for immediate impact here in Middletown, and in assisting student coordinators of the Office of Community Service’s programs. We’re also developing ideas for tapping into other networks and social media platforms to increase awareness and communication among CCP, students, and the Middletown community. With the Patricelli Center, I help students with more global-minded engagement, including opportunities for grants, workshops in entrepreneurial skills, and networking with alumni. Both offices offer an incredible amount of resources.
Q: What are some recent ways you’re helping Wesleyan students become “civically engaged?”
A: Just before Thanksgiving, my director, Cathy, and I rounded up students from all different groups on campus — fraternities, athletic teams, program houses — to assist in the Middletown Community Thanksgiving Project. Students came by throughout the day to help assemble Thanksgiving Dinner baskets for over 500 families in our community. Not only were Wesleyan students presented with the opportunity to civically engage in combatting food insecurity,
by Corrina Kerr •
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching recently recognized Wesleyan for its continued involvement in community outreach by selecting the university as a recipient of a 2008 Community Engagement Classification.
The university was among 119 institutions (and among two in Connecticut) that received this classification for 2008. The foundation initiated the community engagement classification in 2006. Visit this page for more information and a list of the selected institutions.
“The significance of Wesleyan receiving the Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement Classification is major in light of this historic moment we experienced this week in our country,” said Sonia BasSheva Mañjon, vice president for diversity and strategic partnerships. “We have just sworn in a Commander in Chief of this country who believes intimately in service and engagement. As [President Obama] stated during our commencement ceremony