UNCW Conference Puts Spotlight on Community Engagement

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The University of North Carolina Wilmington will hold an all-day conference to promote ways for the university, local organizations and individuals to work together for the benefit of the community. “Giving Flight to Engagement: Creating Positive Community-University Partnerships” will run from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 14.

“We want to bring the university and the community members together to talk about where we go next, how we can better collaborate to make a difference together,” said Lori Messinger, associate vice chancellor for community engagement. Workshops for faculty, staff and the community will be held throughout the day in the Fisher Student Center and Fisher University Union.

The conference coincides with the public launch of the EngageSENC website platform, a collaborative effort of UNCW’s College of Health and Human Services, QENO (Quality Enhancement for Nonprofit Organizations), the United Way of Cape Fear, the South East Area Health Education Center and the Civic Leadership Project.

EngageSENC will connect nonprofits, community members, local government, philanthropic interests, colleges and universities, decision makers and businesses in southeastern North Carolina. Users will be able to find resources and faculty expertise on a wide range of issues, such as health care, human services, housing and education; identify opportunities for internships, volunteerism and community-based research; and interact with the university and with one another. Nonprofits and other agencies also will have the opportunity to share information about their services.

“We see this as a way for the university to strengthen partnerships with our community to address regional concerns,” Messinger said.

The conference is free and open to the UNCW community, local organizations and the public. Due to the impact of Hurricane Matthew, the deadline to register is extended until the end of the night Wednesday, Oct. 12.

The engagement conference also serves as a way to re-introduce participants to the Office of Community Engagement and the many initiatives that connect UNCW to the community.

The keynote speaker will be Barbara Jacoby, faculty associate for leadership and community service-learning at the Adele H. Stamp Student Union ­– Center for Campus Life at the University of Maryland, College Park. In that role, she facilitates initiatives involving academic partnerships, service learning and civic engagement. She is scheduled to speak during a luncheon from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Warwick Center Ballroom.

Two new awards will recognize service and engagement by UNCW staff and community partners: the UNCW Staff Award for Excellence in Community Engagement and the UNCW Community Partner Award for Excellence in University Engagement.

-- Tricia Vance