Reaching out

Jenna Fracassi

To highlight collaborative relationships between Grand Valley State University faculty, staff and students and members of the surrounding community, the Office of Community Engagement (OCE) will host a Civic Engagement Showcase Thursday, April 13.

The showcase, which will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the DeVos Center, is open to all members of the GVSU community. The event will feature speeches from GVSU President Thomas Haas and Gayle Davis, provost and executive vice president for academic and student affairs.

“Faculty, staff and students are all welcome to submit proposals to present, and all (are) invited to attend the showcase and hear about ways in which the Grand Valley community has partnered with the broader community,” said Nic Scobey, graduate assistant in the OCE, via email.

Proposals can be submitted online at Interested applicants will need to provide the following information to submit a proposal: the title of the presentation, the name and contact information of each presenter, the affiliation of each presenter, a brief summary of the presentation and the method of presentation.

The deadline for proposal submissions has been extended from Friday, March 10, to Friday, March 17. Each group of presenters will have a table to display their presentation material from 3 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Ruth Stegeman, director for community engagement and assistant dean of the College of Community and Public Service, said anyone who submits a proposal is also encouraged to bring one or two community partners with them.

“Let’s say it’s a student group working with a school for example,” Stegeman said. “They might bring someone from their school to also stand at their table so that when people come past they can share what it is they’ve worked on together and what their outcomes have been and so on.”

Scobey said the showcase would offer GVSU community members a chance to recognize the collective impact done through university-community partnerships.

“The showcase is an opportunity for members of the Grand Valley community to share partnerships in which they have been involved and to provide an opportunity for those individuals or groups to be recognized,” Scobey said.

During this event, Haas and Davis will reveal GVSU’s Civic Action Plan. This plan is in response to Haas’ signing of the Campus Compact Presidents’ Declaration, which includes five action statements concerning community partnerships and student civic engagement.

“The action plan includes ways to improve our community partnerships,” Stegeman said. “It looks at aspects of student engagement and how to encourage more student civic action in our communities. 

“It includes a place-based initiative, and finally, it looks at ways to build inclusion and equity not just internally in the university but also with our communities.”

Everything in the plan will be consistent with GVSU’s current strategic plan.

“As a university, we are committed to the public purposes of our institution, so that assumes that we are going to be participants in our communities and we are going to be making contributions, so this celebrates that,” Stegeman said.

Showcase attendees will be able to develop ideas about how to work with a community, meet contacts to work with in the future and learn about opportunities for involvement across the university.