Connecticut Community Engagement Conference: Connecticut Universities as a Community of One

By Kenneth Barone, Assistant to the Governor William A. O’Neill Endowed Chair, Central Connecticut State University

On Saturday, March 6, 2010 students, faculty, and staff of various colleges and universities from across the state of Connecticut gathered as one community to share community engagement efforts and resources. The conference was held at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) with more than 100 individuals representing 15 public and private college and universities throughout the state. The theme was “Connecticut Universities as a Community of One.”

William R. Dyson, the keynote speaker and current holder of the Governor William A. O’Neill Endowed Chair at CCSU spoke to the audience about the importance of universities playing a role in the success of the state. Dyson was one of Connecticut’s longest serving state lawmakers and he expressed the significance of involving oneself in the community; the purpose of doing so: to make a difference.

After Dyson energized those in attendance, conference attendees then had the opportunity to attend several breakout sessions. The breakout sessions touched on a variety of topics from the role of social identity in service to science-based community engagement. Students shared their experiences with service-learning projects in New Orleans and also gave tips on how to start a community service club on your campus. AmeriCorps VISTA members coordinated a seminar to explore the possibility of joining AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps. Members of the community shared their various experiences while working with institutions of higher education to achieve institutional goals.

An important aspect of the conference was to provide an opportunity for colleges and universities to network – to facilitate collaboration on future projects. Networking, sharing information and resources, as well as expanding community partnerships all took place as the Connecticut Community met to better understand how to strengthen Connecticut’s communities.

The Connecticut Community Engagement Conference will take place again in the fall.  Indeed, it is envisioned that community engagement colloquia such as the March 6th conference will carry on as participants endeavor to make a value-added contribution to their respective communities.

Here is a link to the conference website where more information can be found.

Conference Sponsors:

  • Central Connecticut State University
  • Center for Public Policy and Social Research
  • Governor William A. O’Neill Endowed Chair in Public Policy and Practical Politics
  • Office of Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Office of Continuing Education and Community Engagement
  • Student Government Association
  • Connecticut Campus Compact
  • Department of Higher Education, Commission on Community Engagement

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