Commitment to Place

Colleges and universities have long touted their positive impact on the world through research, the education of students, and solutions to many of our greatest challenges. At the same time, they are sometimes criticized for distant “town-gown” relationships. To address this challenge and improve learning outcomes and research, Iowa’s college and universities are investing new efforts to impact communities and neighborhoods closer to home. Dubbed “The Neighborhood University” model in one national publication and sometimes also referred to as “anchor institutions” or “place-based engagement,” these efforts include everything from focusing student volunteer efforts in specific areas to research partnerships to…

Meet This Year’s Principal Community Scholars

Twenty-five college students from Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin have been selected for the 2018 class of the Principal Community Scholars Program. This year’s scholars proposed projects designed to engage their peers and their institutions. These projects tap into a variety of skills that can be offered by college students and will impact causes ranging from education to environmental sustainability. Learn more about each of their projects Sumayo Saed, ’19 – Augsburg University, Minnesota This scholar will involve convening informal dialogues with Muslim student groups and Christian neighbours for relationship building and education about Islam.   Jacob Jensen – Buena Vista…

Iowa Campus Compact Hires Three New Staff Members

Iowa Campus Compact today announced three staff hired for newly-created positions designed to boost nonprofit partnerships, research, and election engagement. These new positions reflect an increase in resources and interest in community-campus partnerships as a vehicle for student education, civic engagement, and nonprofit capacity-building. Monique Ellefson began work this week as the AmeriCorps VISTA Program Coordinator. She served as the IACC VISTA Leader in 2013-2014 before earning her Masters of Science in Education at Indiana University. Monique got her start as an impassioned student leader at the University of South Dakota, which led her to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA…

How to Help: Higher education and disaster recovery

As Hurricane Harvey takes its toll, many are looking on and wondering how to help. Iowa’s higher education institutions have a long tradition of supporting disaster response and recovery from stepping up in situations like the floods that hit Cedar Rapids and other areas in 2008 to traveling to help in communities hit by Hurricane Katrina every year for 10 years following the event. There is little doubt this disaster will provide another example of the ways college students and institutions of higher education can make an impact. Already, campuses are considering whether to send students to Houston for alternative…

Meet our new AmeriCorps VISTA members

This year, we have eleven new AmeriCorps VISTA members beginning service around the state. Welcome to the #CompactNation! Lena Haan, Mercy College of Health Sciences, Des Moines Hometown: Cascade, Iowa College and Degree: Gonzaga University, a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Criminal Justice. Learning experience that changed/impacted you:  Working at the Salvation Army food pantry and talked to some refugees from Syria. Why did you choose to serve? I always wanted to join the AmeriCorps and PeaceCorps. I love helping people and want to make a difference. What is your favorite quote? “Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a…

Inaugural Principal Community Scholars Achieve Results

The first year of the innovative new Principal Community Scholars Program ended with successful outcomes for the student involved and those impacted by their community projects. All 20 of the selected scholars from across Iowa and California successfully completed the program, the goal of which was to build their leadership skills, confidence and efficacy and help them to see themselves as community leaders. In post-program surveys, students agreed that they would not be more likely to involved themselves in community service in the future. They also increased their understanding of how to use their knowledge and skills to make a…

2017-2018 Events and Opportunities Preview

The 2016-2017 academic year is just wrapping up, but we already have some great plans for 2017-2018! Check them out and make plans to join us and make the most of these opportunities. Events Preview June 6-7, 2017, Midwest Campus Compact Conference Loyola University, Chicago August 2017, Network Retreat TBD, Des Moines September 22, 2017, Workshop with Dr. Stephen Black University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls November 3-4, 2017, Iowa Student Civic Action Academy Grand View University, Des Moines February 2018, Network Retreat TBD March 25-28, 2018, National Campus Compact Conference Indianapolis, Indiana May 2018, Engaged Campus Awards and Summit…

Meet Millie Njezic!

Meet our new Graphic Design Intern, Millie Njezic! Millie is from Bosnia and Herzegovina and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in public relations at the University of Northern Iowa. Mille earned her bachelor’s degree in public and international relations at Wartburg College. Her background includes graphic and web design, public relations, analytics, and creative strategy. Millie has published a book of poetry and her work appears in academic and popular journals in Europe and the U.S. She is a centerpiece of Koob Fund for Student Community Engagement, awarded to students responsible for a substantial project through their NGO internship that benefits the student, organization,…

Meet Geo Almanza!

Meet our new VISTA Leader, Geovanni Almanza! Geo is no stranger to Iowa Campus Compact, and we’re excited to have him on the team. Geo graduated from Loras College in May 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in politics, international studies, and Spanish. While there, he was a part-time member in our Iowa College AmeriCorps Program. While serving with AmeriCorps, Geo helped Loras College create a retention foundation for First Generation College Students. He then worked for the City of Dubuque Human Rights Department as an Americorps VISTA member through Iowa Campus Compact. During his service, he saw firsthand how local government, non-profit,…

Our Top 10 List for 2016

The countdown to midnight later this month will herald the end of 2016, and we’re taking a moment to reflect on some of the most noteworthy headlines from our organization and our member institutions over the past year. 1. Post-Election Statement from the Iowa Campus Compact Board of Directors 2. UNI Makes President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll For the second year in a row, an Iowa higher education institution was one of four national winners of the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. 3. First Episodes of Compact Nation Podcast Air Have you heard the joke about the…

Our Faculty Initiatives: Renewed

This blog post is from Executive Director Emily Shields. Learn more about our faculty initiatives here. Earlier this fall, national President Andrew Seligsohn introduced the concept of a new era for Campus Compact, one in which our commitments to each other and the ideals of the civic mission are renewed. In Iowa we are seeing a renewal of this commitment as well and last month I wrote about it in the context of our national service programs. Faculty members from the Cedar Rapids area at a recent workshop. This renewed commitment extends to our faculty development initiatives as well. Since…

A Heart for Service, A Call to Action

Shelby Yates has had a “heart for service” since eighth grade. As a student at the  University of Northern Iowa (UNI), she has given back to her campus through active membership with the Service and Leadership Council, the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, and Dance Marathon. Dance Marathon is more than an extracurricular activity for Yates – she considers it “part of her family’s story,” because it raises money for the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. Yates’ younger sister has received treatment at the hospital since being diagnosed with a rare genetic disease. Last year, Yates was nominated as a Newman Civic…

Our National Service: Renewed

This blog post is from our Executive Director Emily Shields. We are seeking host sites for our AmeriCorps and VISTA Programs. Please see below or go here for more information. Last month, national President Andrew Seligsohn introduced the concept of a new era for Campus Compact, one in which our commitments to each other and the ideals of the civic mission are renewed. In Iowa we are seeing a renewal of this commitment as well. Last spring, 100% of our member presidents signed on to the Civic Action Statement and many also publicly shared this commitment through opinion pieces in…

Meet Stella Hart!

Stella studied saxophone in college and comes from a musical family. Last week we introduced you to our new Program Coordinator, Ryan Rogers. This week, meet our new Administrative and Communications Coordinator Stella Hart! Stella is working with Iowa Campus Compact and the Iowa Council of Foundations in a shared position.   Before joining Iowa Campus Compact, Stella served as the marketing coordinator at the Patient Education Institute and as a shelter services coordinator at the Domestic Violence Intervention Program. She volunteered as a Human Rights Commissioner in Iowa City and as a crisis line operator at the Johnson County Crisis Center…

Iowa college students receive national recognition for civic engagement leadership

Five Iowa students were nominated by their college and university presidents for the 2016 Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellows Award for their excellence in civic engagement leadership. These students are among the 218 students chosen nationally to receive this award, which honors the late Frank Newman, one of Campus Compact’s founders and a tireless advocate for the civic engagement of higher education. ​The 2016 Iowa recipients were Nichole Wiese of Buena Vista University, Laura Leben of Drake University, Rachel Kilburg of Loras College, Shelby Yates of University of Northern Iowa, and Jamie Harrings of Warburg College. These students were selected for…

Athletes supporting athletes

This year Iowa Wesleyan University’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) was selected for the Network Choice Award after a very competitive voting process (read more here).  The group was selected for their support of community athletes by hosting the Southeast Iowa Special Olympics and other service activities. “SAAC is effectively bringing this community and Iowa Wesleyan closer together by hosting Special Olympics and getting the word out there while fundraising and talking with community members to encourage their help and participation,” said Sam Shepard, the current AmeriCorps VISTA serving at Iowa Wesleyan, who nominated the group for the award. ​ While…

Building connections across difference in Dubuque

Dr. Adib Kassas’ main priority in life is to teach more people about his religion and about how to build relationships across differences. Dr. Kassas is a Muslim and originally from Damascus, Syria. He has been working as a psychiatrist and raising his family of five children with his wife in Dubuque, Iowa for more than 18 years. Several years ago he met Dr. John Eby, Associate Professor of History at Loras College and found a way to put this priority into action.Dr. Kassas has led a Qur’an Study at Loras College for the past seven years.  This has provided…

The work of many hands

In three short years, Dr. VanLaningham has transformed the Loras College Honors program into a successful “citizen-scholar” model, focused on transformative community impact and deep student learning. The program now intentionally links academic research with community-based learning, through a three-year project. Students and faculty develop interdisciplinary research projects which address a question or problem in a community to learn about the issue, connect with other interested groups, and develop a possible solution. Dr. Erin VanLaningham receives Iowa Campus Compact’s Emerging Innovation award from IACC board chair and Mercy College President Barbara Decker. Dr. Erin VanLaningham ​ describes the success of the…

Lessons from a network leader

This year Iowa Campus Compact had a special category awarded to a leader in our network. We asked for peers to nominate someone they believed showed leadership in the network of Iowa Campus Compact, not just on their own campuses. Central College’s Cheri Doane was the recipient of the Network Leadership Award and was nominated by a variety of individuals outside of her college, including Katie Wilson of Cornell College. “Cheri’s years of experience, her positive attitude, and her clear passion for this work inspire new and experienced professionals every day,” said Wilson. “She has reached out to me specifically many times…

AmeriCorps member improves impact of rural ambulance program

  ​According to a 2014 Des Moines Register article on Iowa’s rural Emergency Management Service system, nationally, at least three rural ambulance services close their doors each month. In Iowa, many rural areas remain underserved and time, training, and cost requirements make it hard to recruit volunteers.Jacob Buster, a recent graduate from Cornell College in Mount Vernon, wanted to address this issue in his community. Through his three terms with the Iowa College AmeriCorps Program, he created the Cornell College Emergency Medical Service (CCEMS) which assists the community volunteer run Mount Vernon ambulance service by connecting them to trained volunteers…

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