Fund for Positive Engagement

Fund for Positive Engagement

Purpose

Over the past two years, longstanding political and social rifts in the United States have become deeper and more overtly hostile, embittering our already polarized public life. Various groups and individuals on our campuses and in our communities have experienced identity-based threats and marginalization that have led to heightened levels of fear and anxiety within campus communities. Students whose political views differ from the majority of their peers have come to fear social ostracism. The intensification of these phenomena harms students, interferes with the achievement of higher education’s mission, and threatens the health of our democracy.

Faculty, administrators, students, and their partners are working to address a variety of challenges: balancing the right to free speech with the need to cultivate learning environments in which all students can be successful, supporting students whose safety and well being are threatened by public policy or rhetoric, responding to attacks on academic freedom, and cultivating spaces in which all students can constructively build relationships and exchange ideas with one another across differences of all kinds–including ideological differences.

The purpose of the Fund for Positive Engagement is to catalyze experimental responses to challenges arising from this new climate.

Campus Compact is committed to higher education’s public purposes and its role in building democracy. We recognize the immediate need to respond and innovate—and to connect institutions of higher education committed to repairing and preventing division and polarization. Institutions participating in this effort will contribute to the development and documentation of both preventive and solution-oriented interventions to build strong and diverse communities on and off campus.

Our goal is to provide our members with resources to enable small-scale, short-term experiments; reveal promising practices; and share what is learned from these innovation efforts across our network and beyond.

Fund Recipients

University of Alaska Anchorage, AK Salem State University, MA Marietta College, OH
University of Central Arkansas, AR University of Maine at Augusta, ME The College of Wooster, OH
Arizona State University, AZ Michigan Technological University, MI Oklahoma State University, OK
California State University at Northridge, CA Wayne State University, MI Lehigh University, PA
California State University, East Bay, CA University of Minnesota Rochester, MN University of South Carolina Upstate, SC
Colorado State University, CO University of Montana (Missoula), MT The Citadel, SC
Yale University, CT Wake Technical Community College (Wake Tech), NC James Madison University, VA
University of Connecticut, CT Hastings College, NE George Mason University, VA
Florida State College at Jacksonville, FL Southern New Hampshire University, NH Saint Michael’s College, VT
Mercer University, GA Rutgers University – Camden, NJ Renton Technical College, WA
Saint Mary’s College, IN Bard College, NY University of Washington Seattle, WA
Tulane University, LA Syracuse University, NY Western Technical College, WI
University of New Orleans, LA Wagner College, NY University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, WI
St. Norbert College, WI

Contact: Maggie Grove
Vice President for Strategy and Operations
mgrove {at} compact(.)org
(617) 357-4166

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 11, 2017

Announcing Fund for Positive Engagement Award Recipients

40 institutions to receive funding from Campus Compact to bridge divides on campuses and in communities.

BOSTON, Mass. – September 11, 2017 – Campus Compact, a Boston-based non-profit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education, has announced 40 college and university recipients of grants to bring people together across lines of difference from its Fund for Positive Engagement. The Fund for Positive Engagement is a direct response by Campus Compact to the divisive and destructive climate in the United States that took shape during the 2016 campaign and has continued in its aftermath. The purpose of the Fund is to catalyze experiments in bridging divisions among people and groups in communities across the country. “We wanted to create an incentive for colleges and universities to come up with creative responses to the challenges they are seeing,” said Andrew Seligsohn, president of Campus Compact. “We have been hearing from our member colleges and universities that students and community members cannot hold conversations with people with differing political views. Immigrant and Muslim students are afraid to express their views. Many community members see universities as completely separate universes with different values. We invited our members to propose steps to break through those divides, and we are excited by the proposals that came back.” The selection process was highly competitive as Campus Compact received nearly 300 submissions from institutions across the country.

The Fund for Positive Engagement is a direct response by Campus Compact to the divisive and destructive climate in the United States that took shape during the 2016 campaign and has continued in its aftermath. The purpose of the Fund is to catalyze experiments in bridging divisions among people and groups in communities across the country. “We wanted to create an incentive for colleges and universities to come up with creative responses to the challenges they are seeing,” said Andrew Seligsohn, president of Campus Compact. “We have been hearing from our member colleges and universities that students and community members cannot hold conversations with people with differing political views. Immigrant and Muslim students are afraid to express their views. Many community members see universities as completely separate universes with different values. We invited our members to propose steps to break through those divides, and we are excited by the proposals that came back.” The selection process was highly competitive as Campus Compact received nearly 300 submissions from institutions across the country.

“We wanted to create an incentive for colleges and universities to come up with creative responses to the challenges they are seeing,” said Andrew Seligsohn, president of Campus Compact. “We have been hearing from our member colleges and universities that students and community members cannot hold conversations with people with differing political views. Immigrant and Muslim students are afraid to express their views. Many community members see universities as completely separate universes with different values. We invited our members to propose steps to break through those divides, and we are excited by the proposals that came back.” The selection process was highly competitive as Campus Compact received nearly 300 submissions from institutions across the country.

The selection process was highly competitive as Campus Compact received nearly 300 submissions from institutions across the country. Two-thirds of the reviewers were students in Campus Compact’s Newman Civic Fellows program. Proposals were judged based on the strength of the idea, its practicality, and the degree to which it will be possible to measure success, among other criteria.

“We’re very excited to receive this funding, which will help us to realize a long sought after goal of piloting undergraduate classes co-taught by faculty members and community partners,” said Kevin Bott, Dean for Civic Engagement at Wagner College on Staten Island in New York City. “These courses will support Wagner’s yearlong civic dialogue series inspired by Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me and engage our students, faculty, and the wider Staten Island community in conversation about racial justice.”

“With the support of Campus Compact, we are able to develop efforts aimed at creating spaces for genuine dialogue that focuses on listening and learning as acts of love,” said Jaime Gonzalez, Assistant Director of the Cassandra Voss Center at St. Norbert College in De Pere, WI. “By using stories as means to witness the humanity in all persons, we hope to launch initiatives that will aid our campus and the larger community in embracing dialogue across difference in often very divisive contexts.”

Following is the full list of Fund for Positive Engagement grant recipients from Campus Compact

University of Alaska Anchorage, AK Salem State University, MA Marietta College, OH
University of Central Arkansas, AR University of Maine at Augusta, ME The College of Wooster, OH
Arizona State University, AZ Michigan Technological University, MI Oklahoma State University, OK
California State University at Northridge, CA Wayne State University, MI Lehigh University, PA
California State University, East Bay, CA University of Minnesota Rochester, MN University of South Carolina Upstate, SC
Colorado State University, CO University of Montana (Missoula), MT The Citadel, SC
Yale University, CT Wake Technical Community College (Wake Tech), NC James Madison University, VA
University of Connecticut, CT Hastings College, NE George Mason University, VA
Florida State College at Jacksonville, FL Southern New Hampshire University, NH Saint Michael’s College, VT
Mercer University, GA Rutgers University – Camden, NJ Renton Technical College, WA
Saint Mary’s College, IN Bard College, NY University of Washington Seattle, WA
Tulane University, LA Syracuse University, NY Western Technical College, WI
University of New Orleans, LA Wagner College, NY University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, WI
St. Norbert College, WI

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About Campus Compact: Campus Compact is a coalition of more than 1000 colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. As the largest national association dedicated to this mission, Campus Compact is a leader in advancing institutional community engagement to educate students for civic and social responsibility and to build communities. For more information, visit www.compact.org and follow @Campus_Compact on Twitter.

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