Students arrived on the University of La Verne campus Monday toting backpacks and hot coffee, some still sleepy-eyed from months of summer relaxation and others raring to go for the first day of t...
College and university presidents and Campus Compact state coordinators from around the country unite to discuss community partnerships as well as college access and readiness.
Jose Calderon recalled hearing poignant words from civil rights activist Cesar Chavez in the 1970s about the importance of helping and empowering others.
For Calderon, an activist himself and a professor at Pitzer College in Claremont, it was a message that has guided his life.
“The only thing for sure in life is death. The only question is how you’re going to spend your time,” Calderon said.
The message set the tone for the July 14 Campus Compact conference, a gathering of college and university presidents and Campus Compact state coordinators from around the country. The event was hosted by the University of La Verne.
Campus Compact is a Boston-based national coalition of college and university presidents and state coordinators, dedicated to public and community service. It seeks to develop citizenship skills among students and integrate civic and community-based learning into curriculum.
“This is an excellent opportunity to meet with our peers in higher learning, and to collaborate in the area of community engagement,” said University President Devorah Lieberman. “Campus Compact’s mission is aligned with our core value of community engagement and we look forward to sharing best practices across all of our campuses and communities.”
Members of the Campus Compact board of directors attending the event included Presidents Lieberman; Richard Guarasci, Wagner College; Helen Giles-Gee, University of the Sciences; Shouan Pan, Mesa Community College; Bernard Milano, KPMG Foundation; Antonio Dieck-Assad, Universidad de Monterrrey (Mexico), Mary K. Grant, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts; and Paul Pribbenow, Augsburg College.
The group’s board of directors met in the Howell Board Room the opening day of the conference July 13, followed by a dinner on the Hanawalt House patio. The entire group met July 14 and 15 in the Campus Center.
“We’re just fired up to do some amazing things,” Lieberman said.
La Verne Mayor Don Kendrick said the university is a prime location to accomplish Campus Compact’s mission, given Southern California’s high population.
“We don’t have to reach very far to reach a lot of people,” Kendrick said.
The presidents and state coordinators planned to address college access and retention, enhancing college readiness among K-12 students and establishing meaningful and reciprocal community partnerships.
Guarasci said Campus Compact has implemented college-readiness tutoring programs for students in kindergarten through high school, particularly in underserved communities. The group has also funded scholarships to help students go to college and created opportunities for children to tour college campuses.
Those are examples of programs participants planned to discuss during the conference.
KMPG Foundation, one of the organization’s largest funders, said efforts to reach minority communities is important, and so is placing minorities in college leadership positions because of the changing demographics in the classroom.
“We are very concerned about the absence of minorities in professor positions, in provost positions,” Milano said.