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The Community Involvement Center at Weber State University might never be the same. A meeting will be held today at 2:30 p.m. in Room 320 of the Shepherd Union Building to discuss the possibility of renaming the center, in order to better articulate its services.
“The reason we’re having a language conversation is because nationally, the words and language we use to describe what’s happening have many different names,” said Leah Murray, WSU political science and philosophy associate professor. “People are calling it civic engagement, public engagement, community involvement, service learning, base learning and public service. It’s literally all over the map, even though we’re trying to talk about the same thing.”
Since its establishment in June 2007, students have had the opportunity to serve their communities a combined 618,000 hours through the Community Involvement Center. WSU won the prestigious Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement award in 2008 and has been listed yearly on The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.
“We’ve decided to hold a conversation to decide what we should name the center that best reflects what we do and the work we’re doing,” Murray said. “We’re having a discussion, which the whole country involved in higher education is having, regarding the language used to define community involvement, and we’re picking what’s best for Weber State. We want the community involved in this.”
The meeting will be open to the general public to discuss the current inconsistencies of terminology, both nationally and locally, and to determine if a name change is necessary. Those with naming suggestions are encouraged to write their ideas on a whiteboard currently positioned outside of the Community Involvement Center.
“Obviously, the substance of the program is what’s important, but you can’t discount the proper naming of it either,” said creative writing professor Ron Deeter. “The name has to represent that substance, so students will come away feeling what the name communicated. Otherwise, they’ll come away feeling like it was a shame, or a hypocrisy. If the name connects, and the program doesn’t, that’s the worst possible scenario.”
The Community Involvement Center provides both curricular and co-curricular service opportunities for students and faculty, with a mission of engaging those involved in a process combining community service and academic learning.
“Personally, I think the name should stay the same.” said Joshua Mullins, WSU’s Davis campus senator. “But if they do change it, I would like to see the word ‘community’ stay, because that’s what service is all about.”