December 5, 2001

Cornell Supports New York Campus Compact

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Cornell University is one of the charter members of the New York Campus Compact (NYCC), an agreement in which several colleges pledged to promote service-learning programs.

These programs will provide students with more resources and training to implement community service projects.

The New York Campus Compact is the state chapter of Campus Compact, a national organization established in 1986 to promote service-learning activities. Plans for the New York chapter have been in the works for about 18 to 24 months, according to Prof. Kenneth Reardon Ph.D ’90, city and regional planning.

With service-learning, students apply the subjects they learn in the classroom and use that knowledge to help communities in need. The process helps students to develop civic responsibility while also giving them the opportunity to implement creative ideas towards solving problems.

Cornell signed the charter along with other institutions of higher learning such as Nassau Community College in Garden City, N.Y., Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y., and Syracuse University. Leaders traveled to Pace University in New York City for the Oct. 16 ceremony.

In 1999, Campus Compact worked with WorldCom and Brown University for “Making a Civic Investment,” a $1.6 million project which funded 20 such community and campus partnerships which provided Internet access and training to children and families who could not otherwise afford it.

The Ford Foundation gave Campus Compact a grant in 1998-1999 to run three national conferences and 28 state and regional conventions as well as to encourage ties with local organizations such as the YMCA and the Red Cross.

The New York chapter is working towards establishing offices and getting the groundwork laid down for the NYCC.

“Steps are being taken to make the space and money for the establishment of the New York Campus Compact office,” Reardon said. “The state-wide advisory committee is in the final search for hiring a full-time director.”

One NYCC office will be at Cornell and an office will be set up at Pace University. An advanced training program is being developed to train administrators and staff members who want to start service-learning programs.

Other additions will be made to the organization as well. There is a proposal to establish an electronic journal, along with planning a summer institute for community service.

“We’re actually establishing a summer institute at Cornell … [that] would bring together people from all over the country to practice community partnerships,” Reardon said.

“NYCC is entering the [Campus] Compact at a time when it’s never been stronger,” Bentley College Prof. Edward Zlotkowski, English, a senior faculty fellow of the Campus Compact said at the ceremony.

“Members have access to service-learning models from around the country, training for chief academic officers, colloquia for presidents [and] special workshops for chairs,” he added.

The New York chapter hopes that the membership will rise to 50 or 60 colleges within the next two years. If this expectation is met, the New York organization will be one of the largest chapters.

At the ceremony, approximately 12 students were named New York Campus Compact Charter Scholars for the work they have accomplished through community service.

Many attendees believe that the NYCC is a step in the right direction.

“We have just been through the worst of times, but this event [the launching of the NYCC] affirms the way we are capable of responding — [with] the best of us,” Elizabeth L. Hollander, national executive director of Campus Compact, said at the ceremony.

Archived article by Kelly Samuels