MCC promotes civic engagement

By Sally Mesarosh

Mesa Community
College student
Amanda Fahy
believes there’s more to
a college education than
just academics.
This past semester
she took time from her
studies to volunteer at
Care Partnership, a nonprofit
that helps nearly
20,000 people every
year.
Fahy helped out
in the organization’s
after-school program by
assisting with homework
and craft activities, and
even shooting a few
hoops on the basketball
court.
“I really enjoyed the
kids,” said Fahy, a social
work major.
“It helped solidify
what I learned in the
classroom and gave me
experience I wouldn’t get
anywhere else.”
Fahy, a west
Chandler resident who
plans to transfer to
Arizona State University
after she finishes her
degree at MCC, said
she will likely continue
to volunteer in her
community even after
she graduates.
“Volunteering
keeps you in touch with
what’s happening in the
community and provides
an opportunity to meet
the people who live in
your area,” Fahy said.
Now MCC students
like Fahy will have even
more opportunities for
civic engagement.
The Community
College National
Center for Community
Engagement, housed
at MCC, received a
$270,000 award from
the Teagle Foundation to
support the development
of a three-year project
to coordinate servicelearning
projects at seven
of America’s civically
engaged community
colleges.
The project is
designed to improve
and promote model
courses and curricular
programming that foster
personal, civic and moral
responsibility.
“We are committed
to educating our
students about the
importance of building
diverse, equitable,
healthy and sustainable
communities,” said MCC
President Shouan Pan.
“Recognized as a
leader in community and
civic engagement, Mesa
Community College is
honored and excited to
have this opportunity
to expand civic learning
and strengthen our
linkages with our
communities.”
Duane Oakes,
faculty director of MCC’s
Center for Community &
Civic Engagement, said
MCC was chosen because
of the college’s focus
and strong commitment
to service learning and
civic engagement. For
the past eight years,
MCC has been named to
the President’s Higher
Education Community
Service Honor Roll,
which recognizes higher
education institutions
that reflect the values of
exemplary community
service.
Last semester,
32 MCC students
volunteered 630 hours
of service with Tempe
organizations.
Over the past
eight years, 1,468
students have donated
33,545 hours to Tempe
elementary and high
schools, city of Tempe
Parks and Recreation,
Tempe Library, Tempe
Police Department and
Project C.U.R.E.’s Tempe
office. Project C.U.R.E.
is the largest provider
of donated medical
supplies and equipment
to developing countries
around the world.
Oakes said the best
way for students to learn
is by doing.
“When we can
connect our students
to active learning and
things that help link
them to the community,
it will help make their
classes more relevant
and provide more
opportunities to change
the world,” Oakes said.
“Experiences like
that also help them build
their resume. As a faculty
member, any time I can
help students do that,
it makes everything
connect for me.”
The project will
enable seven community
colleges to work together
and participate in local
and national dialogues
to further integrate
responsibility into
existing courses.
Seven specific areas
have been identified to
better equip students
to address some of
the ‘great questions’
of meaning, value and
personal and civic
responsibility.
“Our society needs
to prepare our students
to be better citizens so
they can help make the
changes that are needed
in our society,” Oakes
said.
“That’s what higher
education should be
about.”

Posted by on Feb 20 2014. Filed under Education, Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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