Staff members of WCU’s Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning gather for a planning and review session this week. They are (from left) Mackensie Jimison, Amanda Hanson, Lane Perry, Jennifer Cooper and Sydney Haboush.

A transformation is underway for Western Carolina University’s Center for Service Learning, including a name change to better reflect the center’s role and a fundraising effort to benefit student initiatives.

With the start of the semester, WCU’s student-centered program for helping others is now known as the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning. The new name ― by adding two key words ― more accurately describes the scope and breadth of activities, said Lane Perry, who also has a new title of center executive director.

“I firmly believe that as an institution we are now starting to fully realize the potential of intentional, respectable and mutually beneficial approaches to our community engagement work, on and off campus and with our students, our community and our faculty and staff,” said Perry. “Additionally, the inclusion of ‘community’ and ‘engagement’ in our name seeks to encompass the idea that service is something so much more than what occurs inside or outside of a classroom, with our community or frames our research purposes. Simply stated, it is a way of going about fulfilling the mission and purpose of our institution and as a regional comprehensive university.”

The transformation is in alignment with the university’s “2020 Vision” strategic plan, as well. “The center’s work and that of our Office of Community and Economic Engagement and Innovation complement each other very well and strengthens our institutional commitment, approach and brand of engagement,” said WCU Acting Provost Carol Burton.

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Originally published Jan. 23, 2019.

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