Recap: TRUCEN 2024 Annual Meeting

The TRUCEN 2024 Annual Meeting, hosted by CU Boulder and sponsored by CU Boulder and GivePulse, gathered over 70 members from 40 institutions for lively discussions, interactive sessions, and lightning presentations highlighting innovative civic engagement initiatives.

The Research Universities Civic Engagement Network (TRUCEN) recently concluded its 2024 Annual Meeting, a dynamic two-day event brimming with action-focused discussions, networking opportunities, and collaborative coalition-building initiatives. It brought together over 70 members of the TRUCEN network from across 40 different institutions. Held from April 6 to April 8, just before Compact24, the meeting set the stage for a dynamic exchange of ideas and insights. The meeting was hosted in partnership with CU Boulder, with key leadership from the Office of Public and Community-Engaged Scholarship.  In addition, to CU Boulder we were excited to feature local TRUCEN members University of Denver, CU Denver, and CU Anschutz. We are thankful to both CU Boulder and GivePulse for serving as sponsors of this year’s event.  

As participants gathered to address the unique challenges encountered by R1 universities, the meeting catalyzed transformative dialogue and collective empowerment. Throughout the event, attendees explored a diverse array of topics, each aimed at deepening the understanding and practice of civic engagement within research institutions. 

Here are some highlights of the TRUCEN annual meeting! 

Highlight from TRUCEN

At the opening dinner, community leaders from the Valverde Neighborhood Association Evon, Art, and Adriana Lopez shared insights on their experiences partnering with both CU Denver and the University of Denver to enhance community well-being and prosperity for the residents in Valverde. Their discussion highlighted the power of partnership and relationships and emphasized the community's resilience in striving for positive change.

TRUCEN recap

On Sunday, TRUCEN moved to CU Boulder for the day.  Throughout the day, TRUCEN members came together to both share and learn.  During the morning, participants were engaged in an interactive session titled "Navigating your Place-based Mission." They were divided into two groups: one focusing on hyperlocal engagement and the other on statewide engagement, with a special emphasis on rural community engagement. Facilitated by Jamilah Ducar from the University of Pittsburgh and Laura Martin from Ole Miss, attendees utilized design thinking tools to generate ideas, address challenges, and explore available resources for community engagement leaders.

TRUCEN recap
During the working lunch, participants engaged in reporting and workshopping outcomes from the 2023-2024 Sustained Conversation Groups, led by facilitators Clayton Hurd and Maranda Ward for Supporting Equity-Focused Community-Based Research, Renee Brown & Nancy Thomas for Strengthening Student Learning and Engagement for a Challenged Democracy, and Doug Barrera for Cultivating Community Voice in Engagement Programs.

TRUCEN recap
The Cultaviting Community Voice in Engagement Programs Sustained Conversation Group also presented during Compact24. 

During the afternoon participants dug into case studies focused on the exceptional work happening around sustainability and climate change at CU Boulder and then closed the day with a networking reception. 

TRUCEN recap

The meeting closed out on Tuesday, with a highlight being The "Nuts and Bolts of Civic and Community Engagement" lightning presentations and follow-up roundtable discussions, facilitated by Renee Brown, Director of the Center for Community Engaged Learning at Michigan State University.  During these short but impactful sessions, attendees explored innovative initiatives from various institutions.