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2019 Civic Action Academy

November 8 - November 9

$25 – $75

Register now for the 2019 Civic Action Academy!

This unique professional development opportunity for students interested in learning new ways of making a difference and building skills through civic and community engagement.

The event will be held on November 8 and 9, 2019 at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. Students from across the Midwest and beyond (undergraduate and graduate) are invited to learn from professionals across sectors. Sessions will offer skill-building in civic action including philanthropy, leadership, dialogue, advocacy and more. Students will also have a chance to learn what others are doing on other campuses and network with peers.


Registration is open. The full conference rate is $75, but students, staff, and faculty from Campus Compact member institutions can register at a discounted rate of $25. The Pre-Conference and Networking dinners are optional and have an additional fee. All details can be viewed on the registration webpage.


The Cedar Valley has many accommodations to choose from for this event. A few suggestions are below. The Cedar Falls Tourism & Visitors Bureau has a comprehensive list of hotels and motels in the area.

Holiday Inn & Suites Hotel and Bien Venu Event Center

7400 Hudson Road, Cedar Falls, IA 50613 (map)

Country Inn & Suites

2910 South Main Street, Cedar Falls, IA 50613 (map)

Student Opportunities

Submit a session proposal (learn more)

Iowa & Minnesota Campus Compact invites individual students and/or groups of students across the United States to submit a proposal to facilitate a session of their choosing. Students can be graduate or undergraduate students in from any major or discipline. The deadline to submit a proposal is Friday, September 20, 2019. View the online application for more information.


Friday, November 8, 2019

8:30-11:30 am               Pre-Conference Session: Civic Leadership Intensive

Do you have what it takes to lead social change? Join us at this intensive session to learn more about your leadership style and gain practical skills for organizing others. Iowa Campus Compact Executive Director Emily Shields will share from her 15 years of leadership and management experience and help you build new skills and ideas for effectiveness. Attendees will have the opportunity to evaluate their leadership style and discuss ways in which that creates opportunities and conflicts. The session will also include new ideas for facilitating great meetings and discussions and attendees will have the opportunity to practice these skills. The session will also provide new tools for managing projects and programs for sustainability.

11:00-12:00 pm            Registration

12:00-1:00 pm               Opening Session and Lunch
The Fierce Urgency of Now: The Importance of Civic Activism in An Era of Challenge
Speaker: Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker

One of our greatest duties as Americans is to our country. Civic activism has been an essential feature of our democratic experiment, and as our country faces an ever-growing set of complex challenges, our duty to engage civically has become more apparent and important. During this talk, I will encourage students to engage with their country at every level – local, state, and federal – to meet the challenges of our time.

Stacey Walker is a native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa and currently serves as Linn County Supervisor. He grew up on the southeast side of town and attended Washington High School. He went on to study political science at the University of Iowa. After college, he helped launch the LBA Foundation, an education-based nonprofit that works to help at-risk students stay on course to graduation. Walker later moved to Washington, D.C. to work for the Case Foundation, a family organization dedicated to empowering people and ideas that can change the world. Prior to being elected to the Linn County Board of Supervisors – as the first African American to ever hold the position – Stacey served as the Chief of Staff for Patel Endeavors and Hawkeye Hotels.

1:30-2:30 pm                Breakout Session I – Students

2:45-3:45 pm                Breakout Session II – Professionals

4:00-5:00 pm                Plenary and Keynote

Is Your Campus Voter Ready?
Speaker: Secretary of State Paul Pate

Secretary of State Paul Pate will discuss how students and campuses can be “voter ready” for upcoming elections. The secretary will also present the 2018 All In Campus Challenge Awards in the following categories: highest student voter turnout and most improved from 2014 with separate awards in each category for private and public colleges and universities. The secretary will also take questions from students about Iowa’s election system.

Paul Pate is a nationally-recognized entrepreneur, currently serving in his third term as Iowa Secretary of State. Pate has dedicated his life to public service, also serving as a state senator and mayor of Cedar Rapids. Pate’s office oversees elections and business filings for the State of Iowa. He was recently elected the President of the National Association of Secretaries of State. Pate has received national awards for election cybersecurity, his efforts to help veterans and Iowans with disabilities vote, poll worker training, and Youth Straw Polls. He is a father of three, and grandfather of five. Paul and his wife Jane live in Cedar Rapids.

6:00 pm                           Networking dinner (optional)

Saturday, November 9, 2019

9:00-10:00 am               Breakout Session III – Professionals

10:15-11:15 am            Breakout Session IV – Students

11:30-2:00 pm               Lunch, Keynote and Closing Reflection

Beyond Charity: Creating Sustainable Change Through Mutuality and Social Entrepreneurship
Speakers: Megan Tensen and Sarah Helleso, Founders of Try Pie

Megan and Sarah will share from their experience as co-directors of Try Pie Bakery – a nonprofit teen employment program that hires high school girls to make pie as a tool in equipping them with work, life, and leadership skills. With values of empowerment and mutuality, they believe social enterprise will play a critical role in the nonprofit sector moving beyond a charity-based approach and toward creating long-term transformational change. They hope to inspire you to think about how you might use business as a tool to address the needs you see in your own community, and pass along some practical applications of what they’ve learned while working with the teens at Try Pie.

Try Pie is a social enterprise in Waterloo, Iowa that uses employment as an opportunity to engage and equip young women for their futures.  Following their graduations from the University of Northern Iowa, Sarah Helleso and Megan Tensen became directors of the program. With their background in Nonprofit Management and interest in the overlap between business and ministry, the two grew the program from its beginnings in a church kitchen to its own storefront in downtown Waterloo this past December. Since its formation in 2014, the program has employed and trained 28 high school students in job skills, financial literacy, and has given them opportunities to build friendships across divides in our community.  Megan and Sarah are convinced of the value of social enterprise as a critical tool in transforming our communities and engaging our youth. They’ve both been deeply impacted by the students they’ve worked with through Try Pie, and are glad to be with you today.


November 8
November 9
$25 – $75
Event Category:


Campus Compact


University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA United States + Google Map