The Pacific Index

Letter to the editor: Civic Engagement Center clears up confusion

Mia Prohaska

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To me, civic engagement, CE, has been a part of my everyday life at Pacific University. I have worked for the Center for Civic Engagement, CCE, for four years, plus I’m a social work major, which has about four civic engagement courses built into my required coursework.

Some of my favorite experiences have been through civic engagement at Pacific. However, I understand it can be difficult for some students to meet the CE requirement or feel very inspired to be engaged for various reasons.

There are many misconceptions when it comes to the CE requirement. Many say you have to do 40 hours of traditional community service, when in reality you have the freedom to pursue your passion in how you feel fits your service the best.

One of my CE classes chose a political issue we were passionate about, created a one page document for the policy and presented it to representatives at

the capitol. I also had a friend who petitioned for Basic Rights Oregon, supporting marriage equality, for their civic engagement requirement.

For those who are already involved in the community or invested in a civic engagement project, they can sign up for CE110 or 111, an independent study course. The one catch with doing independent study is making sure there is an academic component.

For my independent study, I travelled to South Korea and taught at an elementary school. For my academic component, I wrote three short reflection papers. The CCE wants students to pursue their passions, so they have some flexibility with the requirements to fit the needs of each student.

Winter, spring and summer break courses are also offered both at the university and abroad. While travel courses are not free, the CCE helps students find scholarships to help them pursue these rewarding experiences. One summer opportunity is working at Camp Kiwanis, an overnight camp for people with disabilities.

I believe that what you put into the course, is

what you will get out of the course. If you invest yourself in it and do not put off your hours until the last week, you will have a wonderful experience.

Whereas, if you spend the entire course dreading what you are doing and putting off your hours until the last week, you are not going to have a good experience.

When we give back we receive so much. I know several students who have pursued a career or major because of their civic engagement project.

Many students who I have worked with are still volunteering at their site even after they have completed their course because they fell in love with their experience.

When you give, you receive; it’s as simple as that.

If you have questions regarding the requirement, please contact the CCE at [email protected] or visit us in Scott 110.

We will literally shower you with candy and compliments as we figure out the best civic engagement option for you!

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Letter to the editor: Civic Engagement Center clears up confusion