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Event Reflections

Engage Dallas Reminisces on the Inaugural Place-Based Community Engagement Symposium

On October 3 and 4, Engage Dallas, in partnership with the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute, Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), Office of General Education, and Residence Life and Student Housing, hosted the first Place-Based Community Engagement Symposium. 

Participants were energized by the authors of the book Place-Based Community Engagement (PBCE) in Higher Education: A Strategy to Transform Universities and Communities, Dr. Erica Yamamura and Kent Koth. In the keynote, the authors highlighted place-based community engagement as a strategy that prioritizes a campus-wide and education-centered approach in comparison to other individual or office-level (e.g., service learning pedagogy) and economic (e.g., anchor institution) strategies. They underlined the importance and impact of equal emphasis on campus and community for the development and sustainability of the Engage Dallas initiative in moving forward with the program. 

During the Place-Based Community Engagement Symposium, over 60 attendees were invited to a luncheon while they learned how faculty, staff, community partners, and students can connect to Engage Dallas and collectively build capacity for community engagement on the Hilltop. 

Afterward, the authors met with faculty for the Place-Based Community Engagement Symposium Post-Keynote Faculty Workshop. This session was designed as an opportunity for faculty to follow up with the authors and learn more about PBCE and how the model may be implemented into courses, as well as more about the Engage Dallas initiative. Opportunities for faculty participation with Engage Dallas were explored, and the importance of faculty engagement for the development and sustainability of such initiatives was emphasized during the session. 

The initiatives managers for Engage Dallas, Audryanna Reed, and Lauren Anne Cove, reflected on the overall symposium.

The PBCE Symposium was a great opportunity for students, staff, faculty, and community partners to engage in the same space to exchange ideas and establish new synergies. I am grateful for the new ideas that Erica and Kent shared, particularly related to sustaining Engage Dallas and maintaining its long-term commitment to South and West Dallas. The keynote address was challenging, inspiring, and affirming. I am excited to see how the Engage Dallas team collaborates to implement some of the critical feedback and timely suggestions we received.”  – Audryanna Reed, Associate Director for High-Impact Practices, Academic Initiatives

“I appreciated that our keynote speakers, Dr. Erica Yamamura and Kent Koth, focused on the work of changing hearts and minds. I have been reflecting on the quote that Kent Koth shared from Father Peter Hans Kolvenbach: “When the heart is touched by direct experience, the mind may be challenged to change.”  My heart and mind were touched and challenged by the collective learning during the Place-Based Community Engagement Symposium. I look forward to exploring how the Engage Dallas team can achieve an equal impact on campus and in the Dallas community.” – Lauren Anne Cove, Associate Director for Social Change and Intercultural Engagement

So, where do we go from here? The Engage Dallas team has mapped out strategies to ensure the continuity of promoting Engage Dallas. 

Offering regular faculty sessions with the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) on Engage Dallas, PBCE, and launching a book club in spring 2023 are among the strategies moving forward. Co-founder of the Engage Dallas initiative and organizer of the PBCE symposium, Dr. Dustin Grabsch, shared:

“It was wonderful to bring together so many in the SMU community as well as our Engage Dallas Community partners to this first symposium. We have come a long way in a short time, but there is room for more folks at the table. Our hope is to share leadership with the community in planning further professional development experiences. Thanks again to all who attended and collaborated to make this community dialogue a success.“ – Dr. Dustin Grabsch, Assistant Provost for Undergraduate Education and Academic Success

In 2020, SMU adopted the PBCE model to launch and sustain the Engage Dallas initiative. We are honored by the opportunity to engage and learn from the authors of the book that operationalized this university-wide, and community-embedded initiative we call Engage Dallas. A special thanks to SMU staff, faculty, and community partners for attending this successful event. Our gratitude extends to Engage Dallas staff members and sponsor offices who made this event possible! 

Please follow our Instagram @smu.engage.dallas to stay updated with our upcoming events. To learn more about the initiative, visit the Engage Dallas website.

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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 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. 

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Announcements Boaz Commons Community Partners Event Kathy Crow Commons Loyd Commons News Reflections Ware Commons

#TBT… One Night for Dallas

On April 13, Engage Dallas, along with the Office of Social Change and Intercultural Engagement (SCIE) co-hosted the inaugural One Night for Dallas community partner reception. This reception honored the collective work of SMU service organizations, faculty and staff members, and community partners who work together throughout the year to make a positive impact and create sustainable change in the Dallas community. In attendance were students affiliated with Engage Dallas, The Big Event, and Mustang Heroes, SMU faculty and staff members, and community organizations.  

Danielle Palomo welcoming guests to One Night for Dallas.

Attendees enjoyed dinner and dialogue and heard remarks from our very own Jennifer “JJ” Jones, Executive Director for Student Development and Director of SCIE, as well as Dr. K.C. Mmeje, Vice President for Student Affairs.  

We also honored students, staff, faculty, and community partners who have done outstanding work this year. Award categories and winners below:

 

Do Good for Dallas award winner, Jonathan Liu.

Do Good for Dallas – Vikas Bobba, Lilly Chapman, and Jonathan Liu

This award is presented to three first- or second-year students who engaged in service for the 2021-2022 school year. These students are rising stars within their residential community or service organization and demonstrated leadership qualities that has benefited both SMU and Dallas.

 

Outstanding Student Director award winner, Kirk Thomas.

Outstanding Student Director – Kirk Thomas 

This award is provided to an Engage Dallas Student Director who has gone above and beyond through planning service projects and educating their commons on the importance of their social problem and the impact of serving. 

 

Outstanding Student Leader award winner, Connor Healy.

Outstanding Student Leader – Connor Healy 
This award recognizes one student leader from Mustang Heroes, The Big Event, or Alternative Breaks who has dedicated their time to serving their community and serves as a leader to their peers and organization members.

 

Outstanding Faculty/Staff award winner and Kathy Crow Commons Faculty-in-Residence, Daniele Forlino.

Outstanding Faculty/Staff – Daniele Forlino

This award highlights one faculty or staff member who supports students in planning or leading service projects throughout the year. Additionally, this recipient serves as an advocate and connector between SMU service organizations and the greater SMU student population. 

 

Outstanding Community Partner – Legacy Senior Communities and Rebuilding Together North Texas 
This award honors two community partners who have actively participated in SMU’s service programs during the 2021-2022 school year and work closely to create engaging service opportunities for students. 

Congratulations to all of our winners! To our students, staff, faculty, and community partners…thank you for all that you do! 

One Night for Dallas attendees congratulating all of the winners.

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Announcements Armstrong Commons Virginia-Snider Commons Ware Commons

It’s not goodbye, but see you later!

This past spring, Engage Dallas celebrated three of their own student leaders graduating!

Eduardo Yanez Pastene earned a B.A. in Markets and Culture with a minor in Advertising. He is currently pursuing a career in product development. 

Kirk Thomas graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science with a security specialization. After graduation, he’ll be working in corporate technology at Allstate. 

Gigi Kinani completed a B.A. in Economics and will be doing marketing and business development for a software company in Dallas. 

Thank you again, Eduardo, Kirk, and Gigi for all you’ve done for Engage Dallas. We can’t wait to watch you continue to think big and do good beyond your years on the Hilltop.