Western delegation attends Campus Compact Conference

CULLOWHEE – A student/faculty delegation from Western attended the 13th Annual North Carolina Campus Compact Conference at Appalachian State University on Nov. 5. With more than 240 students and faculty in attendance from colleges and universities from throughout the state, the event marked the largest Campus Compact conference in the program’s history.

Campus Compact is a national coalition of more than 950 college and university presidents – representing some 5 million students – dedicated to promoting community service, civic engagement, and service-learning in higher education by deepening their ability to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility.

The North Carolina Campus Compact, headquartered at Elon College, coordinates the state conferences for students and faculty, and provides resources and training for faculty seeking to integrate civic and community-based learning into the curriculum.

Western students Garrett Richardson, Jason Eckard, Will Goode and Crystal Belch accompanied Vera Guise, Faculty Fellow for the College of Arts and Sciences in the Department of Service Learning and a visiting lecturer in the Department of Political Science and Public Affairs. Their workshop, titled “Citizenship – Have Americans Lost Their Swing?,” challenged participants to work to re-institutionalize civic service as an effortless component of living and climbing the success ladder in America.

“The 9-11 attacks and the recent Gulf Coast hurricanes have put human tragedy before Americans on a scale they have not seen, but busy schedules, tight budgets and civic and political apathy cramp our instinctive urge to reach out to others in a shared and frictionless motion,” said Guise, in her opening statement.

Richardson, Eckard and Goode elaborated on hot political topics and issues such as voter apathy and the social security debate, and Belch summed up with a discussion of` the results of a community and campus research project conducted at Western last year by students in one of Chris Cooper’s political science classes.

The project revealed aspects of the relationship between the university and surrounding community, and identified methods for augmenting the region’s successful growth through an improved partnership between the university and the community at large, Belch said.