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…

Building Partnerships with Refugees

Earlier this year, potential new travel restrictions led Iowa colleges and universities to act to reassure international students and scholars they are welcome here. Iowa’s colleges and universities continue to find new ways to partner with and support refugee, immigrant and international populations on campus and in local communities. One example is the Refugee Summit 2017 being hosted this Friday and Saturday at Mercy College of Health Sciences in Des Moines. Other examples include partnerships between organizations, courses, and refugee populations. The Refugee Summit is a partnership with the United Way and the Refugee Alliance of Central Iowa (which is…

Civic-Minded Professional: Hailey Boudreau

Civic-minded professional Hailey Boudreau graduated from Iowa State University with a BS in dietetics in May 2013. After finishing her accredited internship also through ISU in October 2014, she became a registered dietitian in November 2014. She has been a Hy-Vee dietitian since January 2015.  She is also a dietitian for Camp Hertko Hollow, diabetes camp for kids and teens, the social chair for the American Diabetes Association Young Professional group of Central Iowa, helps with marketing for the Iowa Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She also volunteers her time to bake once a week with a young woman with…

Fighting Sexual Assault on Campus

Iowa Campus Compact member colleges and universities work to engage with off-campus communities to solve problems and meet needs. They are also working to address issues on campus and doing both in a way that creates learning opportunities for students. One critical example of this is the prevention of sexual assault, with campuses working to engage and empower students to lead change. The Center for Violence Prevention at the University of Northern Iowa first started their Mentors in Violence Prevention Program in 1993 and seeks to empower both men and women as bystanders giving students the “tools to lead with…

Are you a civic-minded professional?

To understand the civic mission of higher education, it’s important to consider the goals. One goal is graduating students who can successful contribute in the workforce and in their communities. These are civic-minded professionals. The term has been used by researchers at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis who created a scale to measure what they define as: A civic-minded professional is one who is skillfully trained through formal education with the ethical disposition as a social trustee of knowledge, and the capacity to work with others in a democratic way to achieve public goods. At Iowa Campus Compact, we define it…

Student social entrepreneurs address food waste, insecurity on campus

College cafeterias are known for their abundance with a dizzying array of choices. At the same time, college students are increasingly going hungry. A recent study by the Association of Community College Trustees found that two in three community college students are food insecure. Rates are also high on other campuses with another recent study showing at least 30% food insecurity. Student social entrepreneurs on several campuses across the state are taking action. Students are taking the lead to create their own solutions and help their peers. Mercy College’s Taylor Coakley, Student Senate President, alongside Catherine’s Cabinet. At Mercy College…

Alternative spring travels offer service, build skills

Alternative breaks have a long tradition in Iowa with almost every college and university offering some form of travel and community service during spring and other school breaks. Often touted for their unique opportunity to give back, these trips also have an impact on the futures of the students who participate in them. University of Iowa students working on a garden. This year, several trips have already occurred and some are happening this week and next. Students are returning to find themselves changed with new ways of thinking about concepts they are learning in the classroom and, in some cases,…

The secret behind Dance Marathon

When Jess Short was a student at Grand View University, her mom though she was spending too much time on Dance Marathon. “My mom thought I should be spending more time working or studying,” said Short, who graduated in 2015. “After I got my first job, she said she understands now why my Dance Marathon experience was important. I wouldn’t be who I am today or the professional I try to be without those experiences.” Dance Marathons are yearlong, student-run fundraising campaigns that culminate in an 8 to 24-hour event where students stay on their feet dancing. All funds raised are donated…

Higher Education Seeks to Bring Attention to Civic Skills Gap and Solutions

Iowa is facing a civic skills gap. Communities face challenges that require active citizens with the ability and willingness to apply skills like communication, critical thinking, and teamwork.  The 21 college and university members of Iowa Campus Compact (IACC) are working to fill this gap by helping students build these skills through community experiences. To be successful, a broader coalition of nonprofit, community, and business leaders is needed, so IACC is launching a new campaign to help bring attention to the issue and solutions. “Community experiences were central to developing my ability to frame and solve problems, to manage projects…

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