In hopes to engage the community with each other when times have created boundaries for physical distance, Grand Valley State University’s Community Service Learning Center hosted the event “Covid and Community Engagement.” Carson McCready and Grace McMahon, Civic Engagement Associates in the CSLC office, helped lead the discussion on community connection during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This event took place virtually through Zoom and Facebook Live on Wednesday, Dec. 2, from 6-8 p.m. A recording of the Zoom presentation has been uploaded to the center’s Facebook for anyone who could not attend.
“Our goal was to present and discuss how COVID-19 has impacted this year in many different ways,” McCready said. “As well as exploring how gratitude and service can impact our daily lives.”
The Community Service Learning Center has been hosting their Democracy 101 series of co-curricular lectures, panel discussions, and workshops all fall semester. These sessions focus on the idea and practice of democracy. COVID-19 and Community Engagement was the last Democracy 101 session for the semester.
“We want to acknowledge the effects of COVID-19 in communities and talk about what we can do to make things better,” McCready said.
During the presentation, McCready and McMahon discussed the effects of isolation during the pandemic. Even though many people turn to media for social connection, many are still suffering the effects of the increased feelings of loneliness created by the quarantine and social distancing required by COVID-19. How can we create that stronger feeling of connection without being able to be physically in person?
“The Community Service Learning Center team truly cares about planning and hosting events that exemplify and encourage safe community engagement,” McCready said. “We try to look at important issues and see what we can learn from them, and what we can share with others. The CSLC is a nonpartisan group, so we want to be inclusive and appropriate.”
To help with the barriers COVID-19 has created, The Community Service Learning Center will continue to strive to provide events and resources in ways that are safe and stimulating to GVSU community members. These events aim to encourage community engagement, service, democracy, and participation.
“I encourage people to be on the lookout about our plans and schedule for next semester regarding Democracy 101, we are hoping to cover a broader spectrum of topics,” said McMahon.