The Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) was officially established in 2009, but is always progressing. Each year the department aims to add new program opportunities to its curriculum to get students involved in the community. One class the CCE offered for fall 2017 was the Good Food: Eating and Community class which worked with B Street Farms, Pacific food providers and the campus food pantry.
CCE also added several other humanity based courses and a series of art classes centered around ceramics and sustainable design, benefiting the charity Empty Bowls. CCE is excited to welcome a new biology course this upcoming spring term. The class will be centered around planting gardens in local elementary schools, helping introduce students to farming and its relation to the science field.
“We don’t have as many classes in the natural science department as we do arts and humanities,” CCE Director Stephanie Stokamer said. “So I get really excited when a new science course presents itself to the program.”
During January term, the Action for Affordable Housing course will partner students with Habitat for Humanity to build local affordable homes for those in need. According to Stokamer, civic engagement often leads to personal and career growth.
“The current volunteer coordinator at Habitat for Humanity is a student who took my class the first time it was offered in 2016,” Stokamer said.
Spring will bring with it new courses like Food for Thought and Action, which will be taught by Stokamer, and Juvenile Justice and Delinquency, taught by criminal justice professor Taryn VanderPyl. Students interested in the criminal justice field should check out the course which will allow students to work closely alongside community partners and young children.
This fall a number of successful projects have come from civic engagement courses. Kathryn Dolphin’s exercise science classes have worked on keeping community food boxes around Forest Grove filled with essential supplies. The students reached out to the community through social media, building an active relationship between those willing to give and those in need.
CCE is also involved in events like Giving Day, Pacific’s annual Give-and-go event and the Holiday Bike Drive in Portland, all of which are open to volunteers each year. Volunteer opportunities open to all students are always occurring on and off campus. To keep up with these events CCE recommends students check out their blog, Facebook page, or visit their office in Scott Hall.