TWC Staff Presents at Annual National Service-Learning Conference

TWC Staff Presents at Annual National Service-Learning Conference

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Jenna Dell
April 15, 2014

Through our model of civic engagement, The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars (TWC) has enhanced thousands of students’ awareness of their own civic identity. This model, along with best practices for student and community impact, was presented during two at the 25th Annual National Service-Learning Conference on Friday, April 12th. Co-hosted by Youth Service America, the conference brought together more than 1,000 attendees from across the United States and other countries including teachers, school administrators, higher education professionals, researchers, and youth leaders.

 

Animal Magnetism

 

The first presentation "Animal Magnetism: Creating a Civic Engagement Partnership with an Animal Welfare Organization" featured Danielle Artis, Manager of Major Gifts and leader of the Animal Welfare Civic Engagement project at TWC. Artis presented with community partner Stephanie Itle-Clark who serves as the Director of Learning at The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Artis and Itle-Clark provided an overview of TWC's Animal Welfare civic engagement project and focused specifically on how to effectively develop and maintain community partnerships. Artis shared that the success of the partnership is due to several key factors, including:

 

  • Varying the project based on the community partner’s needs
  • Allowing community partners to be creative in their approach
  • Piloting different topics and programs

While HSUS serves as the primary partner for the Animal Welfare civic engagement project, this semester the project also worked with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, and Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies.

 

Moving Beyond The Soup Kitchen Model

 

Kevin Nunley, Managing Director at The Washington Center, and Jenna Dell, Academic Advisor for Civic Engagement Initiatives, presented "Moving Beyond The Soup Kitchen Model: Civic Engagement for Community Impact." TWC believes that all of our participants have a responsibility to be well-informed and socially engaged leaders. The TWC model of civic engagement helps students achieve these outcomes through a combination of educational activities and action components.

 

The presentation concluded by guiding participants to develop an action plan for their own civic footprint, a tool that we use with some of our students. This exercise creates a road map for an individual to take a cause or topic they are passionate about back to their home communities and make an impact there. This type of activity combined with TWC’s framework allows students to take volunteerism to the next level of civic engagement.

 

TWC produces not only future leaders in their professions or fields but also makes them well-informed citizens who are engaged with their communities and their world. While at TWC, interns each semester devote a minimum of 15 hours to active learning. This includes attending meetings, lectures and hearings as well as action, such as advocacy or volunteering. By the end of the semester, interns write a three-to-five page report reflecting on their experience and also articulate how the project helped them become more informed citizens.

 

The Washington Center produces not only future leaders in their professions but also well-informed citizens who are engaged with their communities and their world. The goal of the civic engagement projects is to allow students to become well informed about an issue they care about and then work to make a positive difference in public life at the local, national or global level. Students devote a minimum of 15 hours over the course of the semester to active learning (attending meetings, lectures and hearings) and action (advocacy or volunteering). By the end of the semester, students write a three-to-four page report reflecting on the experience and articulating how the project helped them become more informed citizens. Find out more about civic engagement efforts in TWC's current and previous terms.

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