OGDEN, Utah – The Weber State University Community Involvement Center is hosting its fifth annual Service Symposium to give civically engaged students an opportunity to present what they have learned through community-based volunteer work and research.
The event begins with keynote speaker Eric Liu, who served as a speech writer for President Bill Clinton and later as the president's deputy domestic policy adviser. He also has written books on civic engagement and is a regular contributor to “Time” magazine.
Liu will speak at 11:30 a.m. in the Shepherd Union Wildcat Theater and will hold a signing of his most recent book, “The Gardens of Democracy,” followed by a 12:30 p.m. reception for the presenters.
Students will then display posters that explain the impact their projects have had on themselves and on the community from 1 to 2:15 p.m. at the Shepherd Union Gallery and Fireplace Lounge. The symposium is free and open to the public.
Recording more than 1,100 combined service hours in the academic year, WSU students have organized and participated in dozens of community projects.
“The symposium demonstrates the types of service projects people are doing, ranging from big to small and simple,” said Chad Saunders, marketing and program assistant for the Community Involvement Center. “Most of the projects were also carried out on a long-term basis, which is where the community impact really comes.”
In one project, WSU students in sociology and political science classes collaborated to conduct a community needs assessment of a 10-block area in downtown Ogden. They have conducted 15 focus groups with various stakeholders to determine neighborhood needs in order to help children succeed from “cradle to career.” The students will administer a community survey to 1,000 households in the area. Findings of the research will be used to write a Promise Neighborhoods implementation grant proposal to the U.S. Department of Education to secure a multi-million dollar grant that could fund programs aimed at helping children in the Ogden community reach their full potential.
“Not only are students helping others, but they are also learning from the service they are engaged in,” Saunders said. “It really gives them a chance to reflect on what they have done and even discover new projects through the symposium.”
Because of its continued commitment to community engagement, the Corporation for National and Community Service has named WSU to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service for the sixth consecutive year.
Combined, the Honor Roll awardees engaged 3.1 million students in community service for a total of 118 million service hours. Launched in 2006, the Community Service Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to service learning and civic engagement.
To more accurately reflect its mission, WSU’s Community Involvement Center will be renamed the Center for Community Engaged Learning as of July 1.
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