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…

University of Iowa student ambassadors make their mark

 Across the country, student protests and other activist efforts reflect the strong feelings many college students have about issues of social justice and equity. This year, students at the University of Iowa had a unique opportunity to take action on their campus to raise awareness and build interdisciplinary cooperation. According to the program’s web site, the University of Iowa’s Theme Semester “is a collaboration that brings diverse perspectives to bear on a topic of importance to Iowa and the world.” The spring 2016 theme is “Just Living” and to support campus-wide social justice dialogue and action, nine student ambassadors were…

Central College professor connects to community need

Central College’s Dr. Keith Yanner is the 2016 awardee in Civic Mission Leadership. When we talked to him about this award, there was only one thing he wanted to make sure people know: that this award is not about him. “The most important thing is that I see this as a college award, not a personal award,” said Yanner. “If it wasn’t for our president and the support our admin provides and Cheri and her staff, I wouldn’t have been able to do any of those. Without an institutional commitment, you won’t see a single class designed around a community-based…

Iowa Wesleyan University Wins Network Choice Award

Iowa Campus Compact’s first ever Network Choice Award poll closed at noon yesterday. In total, 3,150 votes were cast for 11 Student Leadership Award nominees. With 1,074 of these votes, Iowa Wesleyan University’s Student-Athletic Advisory Committee won the award. Only 51 votes behind them was Buena Vista University’s A.W.O.L Alternative Spring Break program.Iowa Campus Compact received a record number of nominations for the third annual Engaged Campus Awards. This included a particularly strong group of nominations for the Student Leadership Award. The University of Iowa’s Just Living Student Ambassadors were selected for the award, but a Network Choice Poll was…

Building bridges across faith, backgrounds, and campus

Last week, we gathered faculty, staff, students, and administrators from 11 institutions to talk about interfaith, service, and diversity efforts across the state. We were joined by Christie Vilsack from the U.S. Agency for International Development and Ken Bedell from the U.S. Department of Education. The event was a great opportunity to learn more about how campuses approach bringing goals related to diversity, community engagement, and interfaith cooperation together and to consider new ideas for the future. I wanted to share a few of the key messages, ideas, and resources. Interfaith means understanding others, and yourself. The President’s Interfaith and…

Reflections and Resources from the National Conference

It’s been a few weeks already since the National Campus Compact 30th Anniversary Conference and we’re still reeling. Nearly 700 people from across the country gathered to celebrate 30 years of great work in service learning and civic and community engagement and to talk about the future. And what a bright future it is. We couldn’t be more excited about the work ahead of us and wanted to share a few new insights and resources from this ground-breaking event. Diving Deep session participants Ready to lead I led a session along with fellow editors and authors of Diving Deep in…

ASB 2016: A new perspective and strengthened faith

For Ellie Stoakes, winter break of her freshman year at Central College was pretty boring. She went back home and by the time classes started in January, she knew she had to do something different in the future. Sophomore year, she did just that by signing up for a mission trip to Texas. That trip was to Border Missions in McAllen, Texas and it completely changed her world view. “I live in rural Iowa,  so I’m used to people not making as much money, but this was different,” said Stoakes. “It makes you think before you say or do something,…

Creating sustainability between the community project and student groups

Post written by guest blogger Natasha Hongsermeier of Morningside College. She is a member of Iowa Campus Compact Civic Ambassadors Network. Whether it’s patients clad in hospital gowns dancing in the hallways, or elderly ladies raving about the handsome young a cappella group that just performed for them, there is no better feeling as a performer than seeing the joy that music can bring to those in pain. When I started my project with the Iowa Campus Compact Civic Ambassador Network, I knew I wanted to help college students find this kind of joy. In an increasingly fast-paced, instant gratification…

ASB 2016: Career preparation for social good

Grinnell College students Madeline Howland and Yesenia Ayala are preparing for very different alternative spring break experiences. Howland is leading a trip to Wisconsin to work with Community Homestead on sustainable agriculture and food justice. Ayala is leading a trip to New York City to work with ASPIRA, an organization dedicated to improving education in the Puerto Rican and Latino communities. Ayala has never been on an alternative break trip before and, having grown up in Los Angeles, is looking forward to a new experience on the East Coast. This will be Howland’s third alternative break trip. She grew up…

ASB 2016: Paying it forward

Last spring, Mount Mercy University sophomore Jess Hiney went on her second alternative break trip. This time it was to Biloxi, Mississippi, where she and her fellow students helped with continued rebuilding from Hurricane Katrina. Most students don’t go on one or even two alternative breaks and Hiney will head out on her third in a few weeks. This would be remarkable by itself, but is even more so because Jess was never supposed to be able to even walk. At just six weeks old, she was diagnosed with osteogenesis imperfecta, a rare genetic bone disorder characterized by fragile bones…

ASB 2016: Bringing it back home

Most students who go on alternative break trips are looking for a new experience, often in a new community with a different culture. But Rachel Zuckerman was different. In her sophomore year at the University of Iowa, she loved Iowa City, but she was very homesick. A mass email presented a chance to bridge what she felt were two separate lives, the one she had at school and the one she left back in Detroit. That year, the University of Iowa was planning an alternative break trip to her home city, so Rachel made the decision to go back home…

Students seek change over spring break

Beginning later this week, over 500 students from 12 colleges and universities across the state will set off on adventures across the country and even outside of it. They seek to make a difference, both for others and for themselves. These students are embarking on alternative spring break trips where they will sleep and eat in close proximity to a small group of other students and provide volunteer service in a wide variety of ways including home building, farming, training service dogs and reading with children. The students who go on these trips are often passionate about service, but sometimes just…

Just a volunteer: From Dubuque to Fulbright

Today’s blog is a guest post by Geovanni “Geo” Almanza. Geo graduated from Loras College in 2014. He served three terms with the Iowa College AmeriCorps Program and one term with our AmeriCorps VISTA Program at the City of Dubuque Human Rights office. Geo was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in 2015 and will begin his scholarship in Brazil in 2016. As a first generation college graduate, an AmeriCorps and VISTA Alum, and a new Fulbright Scholar I never know how to properly answer the question of “who am I?” The response that I tend to give is “I am just…

Morningside College: A legacy of engagement

This story is one in a series on higher education’s role in the Iowa Caucus. Last April, Morningside College founded the Colonel Bud Day Center for Civic Engagement. At less than a year old, the center is working toward the goal of encouraging students to be active in their communities and in the political world. The center is taking advantage of Iowa’s first in the nation status to help students understand and get excited about the process. “Telling someone to vote ‘just because’ is not motivating,” said Valerie Hennings, the center’s director and an assistant professor in political science at…

Iowa Colleges use MLK Day to tackle food insecurity

On this past MLK Day six Iowa Colleges and Universities focused their energy on filling food pantries. Over 500 Faculty, students, and staff packed over 85,000 meals for local and international efforts to relief food insecurity. Five of the six Iowa Colleges (Buena Vista University, Central College, Grand View University, Morningside College, and University of Northern Iowa) were awarded mini-grants for their MLK Day of Service projects. Nationally, MLK Day of Service projects leveraged over 9,000 volunteers, packed over 110,000 meals, and donated over 40,000 lbs of food on MLK Day.​Efforts to eliminate food insecurity come in response to reports that…

Civic Ambassadors impacting communities statewide

The members of the civic ambassadors network have been hard at work this semester planning their projects to promote civic engagement. Each of the 20 students was tasked with turning in project descriptions for the civic change they wanted to implement in their communities. We set high expectations and we were not disappointed. These civic leaders will be creating a world of change in their communities. Projects vary greatly While many of the projects are campus based, there is also a number that will focus on the community and even larger section that is working to strengthen connections between the…

5 Insights from Our Workshops with Dr. Patti Clayton

​More than 90 individuals representing 80% of our member institutions attended our events in October with Dr. Patti Clayton on community-engaged teaching, partnerships, critical reflection, and scholarship in local and global contexts. But in case you missed them, or even just couldn’t attend both, I pulled together a few insights that you can use. Have a “To Don’t” List Higher education seems to be increasingly about doing more with less, but that kind of work is taking its toll on staff, faculty, and even students. Clayton urges an additional list to your work planning: a “to don’t” list. Often improving…

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