Campus Organization Encourages Engagement in the Community
by Jenny Barnes
Kansas Campus Compact is part of a nationwide organization that promotes civic engagement and service learning at the university level. There are 35 states that participate in Campus Compact. Kansas has been a member since 2003 and there are currently 12 schools that are members.
Matthew Lindsey, executive director of Kansas Campus Compact, said the main benefit of membership is the network of more than 1200 schools across the United States. This provides opportunities for networking and making connections to help with projects. He said the office is like a repository and expert resource for service learning and civic engagement.
"If a community college in southwest Kansas wanted to better connect with their Hispanic population, our office might connect them with a school in California or New Mexico that has experience in that area," Lindsey said.
The organization also sponsors AmeriCorp VISTA volunteers on K-State's campus, along with WaterLINK and service awards.
Data has shown that service learning increases retention at the college level and also helps students learn better.
Lindsey said, "I think service learning is a highly effective means of reaching a broader set of students and helping them succeed in the classroom."
Kansas Campus Compact hopes to help develop a class of students that are nurses, teachers and non profit workers that are willing to work in high need communities in Kansas.
"A lifelong idea of engagement promotes success within communities," Lindsey said.