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Event News

Engage Dallas Hosts the Second Annual One Night for Dallas Reception

On April 20, 2023, Engage Dallas hosted its second annual One Night for Dallas: a celebration of SMU’s students, staff, faculty, and community partners serving Dallas. The event was held in the ballroom of the Hughes-Trigg Students Center, and guests were treated to a light reception and dinner before the program began.

The evening started with inspiring words from SMU’s Vice President of Student Affairs, K.C. Mmeje, reminding us that while we are celebrating our work this year, there is still plenty to learn and do. His words were followed by our three keynote speakers for the evening: Dr. Crystal Clayton, Executive Director for the SMU Hegi Family Career Development Center, Courtney Cuthbert, Chief Operating Officer for Brother Bills Helping Hand, and Tammy Johnson, Executive Director of Empowering the Masses, who shared their inspiration for service and encouraged the audience to find the source of their own passion.

One Night for Dallas also allowed students to share their service successes. Student leaders from Mustang Heroes, Alternative Breaks, The Big Event, and Engage Dallas provided an overview of their programs and revealed how many hours they spent working with community partners on and off campus this academic year. Together, they hosted over a thousand volunteers and were able to reach out to the broader campus community to encourage service and engagement.

The end of the night concluded with the Service Awards. One Night for Dallas features five unique awards each year, honoring student volunteers, student leaders, and community partners. The final award presented was the Outstanding Community Partner award; it honors two partners who actively participated in SMU’s service programs during the 22-23 school year. We are excited to congratulate For the Love of the Lake and Brother Bill’s Helping Hand for their amazing partnership!

We thank all our volunteers and attendees, congratulate all our award winners, and are ready to see you on April 9, 2024 for One Night for Dallas!

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Announcements News

Call for Applications: Faculty Convener for Engage Dallas Steering Committee

Applications are now being accepted for the Faculty Convener role on the Engage Dallas Steering Committee.

The Engage Dallas Steering Committee (“Steering Committee”) is responsible for providing guidance and input for the Engage Dallas Initiative. The Steering Committee, along with the key partner offices, serve as champions of the work of Engage Dallas. Recommendations by the Steering Committee will reflect best practices for achieving the overall goals of Engage Dallas.

Responsibilities of the Faculty Convener include:

  • Advise the Engage Dallas initiative on curricular integration and faculty engagement
  • Strategize specific pathways for faculty engagement
  • Develop faculty relationships
  • Consult faculty intending to connect courses to Place-Based Community Engagement
  • Host workshops to promote Engage Dallas faculty engagement opportunities
  • Educate stakeholders on Engage Dallas (Center for Teaching Excellence, Faculty Senate, Council of General Education, etc.)
  • Serve as an active member of the Engage Dallas Steering Committee
  • Meet monthly with co-initiative managers to discuss and evaluate faculty pathways and engagement
  • Serve a 2-year appointment, October 2022-October 2024, with the possibility of a 2-year extension

Those interested in applying should email Audryanna Reed (audryannar@smu.edu), Co-initiative Manager for Engage Dallas, and include:

    • Resume
    • An answer to the following question in 200-300 words:

Engage Dallas is a place-based community engagement initiative. Discuss strategies to increase faculty participation in Engage Dallas and discuss some of the benefits of faculty participating in a place-based community engagement initiative.

Priority deadline for application submissions is October 21, 2022, at 5:00 PM.

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Announcements Event News

SMU to host Community Engagement Symposium on October 3 and 4

PBCE Symposium Invite 2022
You’re Invited to the Place-Based Community Symposium

Join Engage Dallas for the Place-based Community Engagement Symposium on October 3 and 4 on the SMU Dallas campus.

Most universities recognize they lack the strategic focus and resources to maximize and sustain their impact on communities in the effort of engaging their campuses in their surrounding community. Place-based community engagement (PBCE) is an innovative tool that connect campus and community to foster positive social transformation. SMU adopted the PBCE model to launch the Engage Dallas initiative as part of the university’s approach to introduce students to place-based community engagement opportunities.

Engage Dallas and its partners will host a kickoff the Place-based Community Engagement Symposium on October 3 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom from 11:30-1:00 pm with a free keynote and luncheon. The keynote is headlined by Dr. Erica Yamamura and Kent Koth, authors of the book Place-Based Community Engagement in Higher Education: A Strategy to Transform Universities and Communities.

Erica K. Yamamura Ph.D. is the former Associate Professor and Program Liaison Coordinator of the Student Development Administration Program in the College of Education at Seattle University. As a faculty member, she utilized service-learning and community-based projects as part of her pedagogy at Carleton College, Texas State University, and Seattle University. Kent Koth is the founding director of the Seattle University Center for Community Engagement. In this role, Kent has overseen a rapid expansion of campus-community partnerships that have received national recognition, including the 2012 President’s National Community Service Higher Education Award.

The two scholars distinguished place-based community engagement as more beneficial than traditional community engagement strategies like traditional service-learning pedagogy and anchor institutions. Learn more about PBCE and the Engage Dallas initiative at the keynote.

Additionally, a la carte sessions will also be offered at the symposium on October 4 as follow up sessions. Sign up for additional community engagement sessions including:

  • Place-Based Community Engagement Symposium Post-Keynote Faculty Workshop: One of SMU’s strategic plans is to increase faculty and student engagement in co-curricular activities beyond traditional coursework in each Residential Commons, the university undergraduate housing system. Adaption of PBCE model for the Engage Dallas initiative has helped maintain the strategic plan in focus. This post-keynote workshop for faculty will be facilitated by the authors to: (1) reflect on key takeaways from the keynote, (2) discuss benefits of PBCE to pursue racial equity, and (3) how to build faculty capacity for community engagement. Faculty will have the opportunity to reflect and ask questions about the PBCE model and the goal of the Engage Dallas initiative. RSVP Today; Space is Limited. Tuesday, October 4 from 9:45 – 10:45 am
  • Tagging Your Courses Workshop for the Community Engagement Proficiency: This workshop, facilitated by SMU’s Office of General Education, is designed for instructors, and will cover in detail the process of tagging your courses with the Community Engagement Proficiency and Experience on the Common Curriculum. This course is ideal for instructors who have community engagement or plan to include a place-based community engagement activities in their courses. RSVP Today; Space is Limited. Tuesday, October 4 from 2 – 3 pm

The university’s adoption of this strategy has seen success already as the budding initiative has led to widespread participation and enthusiasm from students, who help lead the initiative’s implementation and contribute to a Residential Commons-specific social cause in monthly service events.

Join us as we work to embed place-based community engagement into life on the Hilltop.

The event is cosponsored by: Residence Life & Student Housing, Center for Teaching Excellence, Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute, and Office of General Education.

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Announcements News

#TBT… Ideas, Insights, and Innovation

Meadows School of the Arts’ Corporate Communications and Public Affairs (CCPA) 2375 – Communication Research & Analytics class had a special task this past spring semester. Under the watchful eye of their professor, Dr. Dustin Grabsch, and with insight from the Engage Dallas team, 17 students were tasked with conducting a communication and engagement assessment for Engage Dallas. The students designed, collected, and analyzed data via a survey and focus group protocol. They also conducted statistics to analyze results for a final presentation for the Engage Dallas staff at the end of the semester.  

The final presentation of finding to the Engage Dallas team.

The students’ research was centered around helping Engage Dallas answer the following questions:

  • What is the preferred communication platform of SMU students for service-related events? 
  • Describe the experiences of involved and uninvolved SMU students in Engage Dallas. 
  • How do students intend to complete the Community Engagement Proficiency and Experience (CEPE)? 
  • What are the perceived barriers to participation in Engage Dallas? 

Throughout the process, they learned about research methods, and analytical techniques, and were able to practice using them to serve a real-world client.

 

The students of CCPA 2375 at the final presentation of their research to the Engage Dallas staff.

The students were able to identify two main suggestions that would bolster the Engage Dallas presence on campus.  

  1. Utilizing creative options for students to share reflections beyond written essays via video recording software like HireVue.
  2. Diversifying communication channels across campus through Canvas announcements, newsletters, and campus partnerships. 

The Engage Dallas team has already started to implement some of these changes and looks forward to continue gathering student feedback as the program grows.  

Thank you to the CCPA 2375 students and Dr. Grabsch for taking us on as a client! 

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Announcements Boaz Commons Community Partners Event McElvaney Commons MHPS Commons News Reflections

#TBT… Engage Dallas Has Some “Big iDeas”

This past spring, in partnership with the Housing Unification Board and The Office of Engaged Learning, Engage Dallas hosted the second annual Big iDeas pitch event. Each Commons was tasked with creating and pitching an event aimed at supporting the needs of one of their Engage Dallas Community Partners with three Commons being awarded financial backing to carry out their pitch. For the first time ever, Mary Hay/Peyton/Shuttles Commons and  McElvaney Commons tied for first place with each being awarded $3,000 and Boaz Commons was awarded $1,000 for placing third overall. 

As a first-place winner, Mary Hay/Peyton/Shuttles Commons (MHPS) invited Heart House, an Engage Dallas Community Partner, to campus.  

Heart House children playing games during the MHPS Engage Dallas event.

MHPS, who focuses on Immigration and Refugee Support as their social problem, used their award to facilitate an afternoon of fun at SMU. Outfitted in self-made tie-dye shirts, made with SMU students the week before, 35 Heart House students, ranging from ages 5-13, participated in activities such as a magic show, dance lessons, science experiments, and campus tours during their visit.  

Engage Dallas Student Director, Cydney Curtis, worked with MHPS leadership to organize 33 volunteers who helped throughout the day. MHPS’s Faculty-in-Residence brought his family out to serve, and they led music and dancing throughout the day. Curtis shared, “It was a day of joy and volunteering, and I think that everyone had a really good time… It was a successful event that I believe impacted not only the kids but the residential community as a whole. As we can see from the success of this event, Engage Dallas has the capability to put on large-scale events like this. What it takes is dedication, a lot of advertising, proper communication with your non-profit, and perseverance. I could not have done this alone, but I am very proud to have put it on and to have made what I hope is a memorable weekend in the lives of the kids and the residents.” 

Heart House student painting during the MHPS Engage Dallas event.

McElvaney Commons used their $3,000, first place award to purchase two pallet jacks with built in scales for their Community Partner, Brother Bill’s Helping Hands. Brother Bill’s Helping Hand has been serving the West Dallas community for more than 75 years. Its core programs include a grocery store, where neighbors have access to healthy food, access to quality healthcare for the uninsured, and education programs that include English classes, computer courses and fitness programs. The new pallet jacks are able to help them process and sort donations quicker and with more ease. 

Boaz students at CitySquare to drop off their donation and sort food items for the week.

To support the work of their Community Partner, CitySquare, Boaz Commons was able to purchase $1,000 of meat to stock CitySquare’s food pantry. CitySquare is a broad nonprofit organization that offers a comprehensive array of social services that address the four key areas related to the persistence of poverty: hunger, health, housing, and hope.  

Boaz Commons Engage Dallas Student Director, Jonathan Liu, shared “CitySquare was an amazing experience. We were able to help restock CitySquare’s food pantry for the next week with the meat that we had brought the day before, as well as help restock produce for the next week”. 

The Big iDeas pitch competition was a huge success this year and we cannot wait to see what new big ideas come out of next year’s competition.