Community Engagement News

Jan 09, 2023. 5 min read

Community Engagement News January 9, 2023


Undergraduates Explore and Practice Advocacy for Community-Level Social Change

Farm Bill Campaign

Some students took part in Bread for the World’s letter-writing campaign through which lawmakers in Congress were urged to reauthorize the Farm Bill. And the Miami-Dade Community ID Program contributed to one student’s desire to become an advocate in response to social issues.

The importance of advocacy for social change is not lost on Barry University undergraduates like Tiani Sankey and Ricky Bradwell.

As part of an Introduction to Communication course last semester, they explored the principles of advocacy and practiced being advocates in “real-world” contexts, particularly at the local level.

“[You can]” use your power to communicate the need for change in a peaceful and productive way,” Sankey said, “so people who hold more power than you can listen and take initiative.”

For Bradwell, the realization that many people in the community need assistance provided the impetus to embrace advocacy as an effective approach to addressing social issues.

Sankey and Bradwell were among students in the communication course who reflected on their service-learning experiences at the end of the semester. One engaged with refugees supported by Church World Service Miami; the other assisted with the Miami-Dade Community ID Program.

Groups of students in the COM 201 class learned how to leverage “people power,” support refugees and displaced people, address food insecurity, and foster youth development.

Bradwell joined a group of students and faculty/staff members who went to Florida City on the first Saturday of November to assist Branches, the nonprofit organization, with processing applications for Miami-Dade County identification cards. He used his rudimentary knowledge of Spanish to help welcome community members to the event and to provide the necessary directions to them.

Making a Difference

In his own way, Bradwell said, he “was making a difference.” And he was preparing himself to be a long-term advocate of support for people in need, regardless of language or cultural differences.

Besides providing direct service at Urban GreenWorks’ Cerasee Farm in Liberty City, some students practiced advocacy through a Bread for the World initiative.

Bread for the World—described as “a Christian advocacy organization urging U.S. decision makers to do all they can to pursue a world without hunger”—managed a letter-writing campaign through which legislators in Congress were urged to reauthorize the Farm Bill.

The current Farm Bill, formally the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, expires this year. The Farm Bill provides for such programs as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Barry students emailed their letters to Senator Marco Rubio (R–FL) and received acknowledgments from his office.

Meanwhile, Shatoria-Ann Walker and a few of her classmates wrote letters to publication editors regarding the treatment of would-be immigrants. In their letters, the students emphasized the need for better treatment of persons in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facilities.

The letter writers received guidance from Florida Rising, a self-described “people-powered organization made up of members advancing economic and racial justice across Florida.”

At the same time, Miami PACT (People Acting for Community Together) and Breakthrough Miami provided some of the COM 201 students with additional service and advocacy experiences.

Dr. Pawena “Winnie” Sirimangkala, the course instructor, commended her students. She noted that they immersed themselves in their service-learning projects and began to use their communication skills to assist the community.

The associate professor of communication thanked the CCSI (Center for Community Service Initiatives) for supporting students as potential agents of social change.

Volunteer Registration for This Saturday’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Remains Open

MLK Day of Service

This Saturday (Jan. 14) is Barry University’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, and volunteer registration remains open.

Students and other volunteers will honor Dr. King’s memory by participating in collaborative service projects in Liberty City, one of Miami’s historic communities of color.

Service projects have been planned in partnership with Miami Children’s Initiative (MCI). A nonprofit organization, MCI is focused on transforming Liberty City into a prosperous community.

Volunteer registration for MLK Day of Service is underway via the Corq/Engage app and GivePulse.

Additional information is available from the Center for Community Service Initiatives (CCSI) at

Community Engagement Symposium to Feature Poster Competition for Undergraduates

Community Engagement Symposium: Call for Entries

A Student Poster Competition will be a feature of Barry’s Ninth Annual Community Engagement Symposium. The competition is open to undergraduates only.

The competition is an opportunity for students to make a public presentation of a service-learning, community-based research, or co-curricular civic engagement project. Students are expected to share project outcomes and lessons learned.

Scheduled for March 29, the symposium is being organized around the theme “Cultivating Campus–Community Collaboration for Collective Impact.”

Campus–community collaboration may take various forms, including volunteer service, service-learning, community-based research, fieldwork/student teaching/clinical placements, and community-focused internships.

“Collective impact” generally indicates “the commitment of a group of important actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem.” In this context, the symposium organizers say, the term refers to “a significant or major effect of campus–community collaboration on the community, especially through the creation of (potentially) lasting solutions to critical social issues.”

A nationally known community engagement scholar will be invited to conduct a workshop session and deliver the keynote presentation during the in-person event on the university’s Miami Shores campus.

Details of the Student Poster Competition have been posted to the CCSI website and also available from Dr. Heather Johnson Desiral in the CCSI at

Deadline for Submission of Community Engagement Award Nominations is Fast Approaching

Community Engagement Award Nominations

The deadline for the submission of nominations for Barry’s 10th Annual Community Engagement Awards is fast approaching. Students, faculty, and staff members, as well as community partners, are invited to submit nominations by January 27.

Nominations for the awards are being accepted in seven categories: Community Impact, Community Partnership, Community-Based Research, Community-Engaged Scholarship, Community Engagement Educator, Service-Learning Faculty, and Engaged Department.

  • The Community Impact Award is presented to individual students and student organizations for exemplary civic engagement—including service, research, and advocacy—that has a measurable impact on the community.
  • The Community Partnership Award recognizes exemplary partnerships between university and community constituencies that produce measurable improvements in people’s lives while enhancing higher education.
  • The Community-Based Research Award is presented to scholars (faculty members and/or students) who conduct rigorous research with community partners in response to community concerns, issues, or needs.
  • The Community-Engaged Scholarship Award is given to faculty members in recognition of significant scholarly work across the faculty roles of teaching, research, and service that addresses community issues.
  • The Community Engagement Educator Award honors administrators and faculty members for significant contributions to the institutionalization or enhancement of community engagement at Barry University.
  • The Service-Learning Faculty Award goes to faculty members for exemplary integration of community-based or community-focused collaborative service into the curriculum.
  • The Engaged Department Award is presented to departments for achievements in advancing the community engagement goals of the university, educating students for civic and social responsibility, and improving community life.

The awards ceremony is scheduled for the last Wednesday of March. Additional information and the nomination forms are available at the CCSI website.

Three Forums Scheduled for Spring Semester as Part of Campus Democracy Project

CDP Legislative Forum

The second Legislative Forum, on March 22, will focus on an update from the Village of Miami Shores. Mayor Sandra Harris and Village Manager Esmond Scott will be invited to participate.

Three forums have been scheduled for this semester as part of Barry’s Campus Democracy Project (CDP). They include Legislative Forums later this month and in March.

The first of two Legislative Forums has been scheduled for January 25, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The topic is “What to Expect in the 2023 Florida Legislative Session.”

The second Legislative Forum is set for March 22, also from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., when the focus will be on an update from the Village of Miami Shores. Mayor Sandra Harris and Village Manager Esmond Scott will be invited to participate.

On April 19, a Democracy Forum will engage participants in a discussion on “Preparing for the Future: Getting Ready for the 2024 Elections.” The two-hour event is slated to begin at noon.

The CDP Committee is encouraging students, faculty, staff, and alumni to attend those forums as well as a forum in the Deliberative Dialogue Series next month. The topic for the Deliberative Dialogue forum on February 9 is “Race Talk in Florida: Bridging the Political Divide.” That 90-minute event is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.

Last semester, the CDP’s Florida 2022 Ballot Forum took place during National Voter Education Week (Oct. 3–7). The forum was aimed at helping students and other voters make informed choices in the midterm elections.

Also as part of the CDP, five “civic holidays” were observed last semester. In addition to National Voter Education Week, the “civic holidays” on the CDP calendar were Constitution Day, National Voter Registration Day, Vote Early Day, and Election Hero Day.

The CDP is a civic learning and democratic engagement project under the aegis of the CCSI. A university-wide committee of students, faculty, and staff members organizes project activities throughout the academic year.

For information on other CDP-related events scheduled for the spring semester, contact Dr. Sean Foreman in the Department of History and Political Science at or the CCSI at

Deliberative Dialogue Series: Mark Your Calendar

Community Partner Seeking After-School Program Tutors and Fundraising Volunteers

Teen Up-Ward Bound, a Barry community partner, is looking for volunteers for its afterschool program.

Teen Up-Ward Bound, a Barry community partner, is looking for volunteers for its afterschool program.

The nonprofit organization, which serves disadvantaged youth from Opa-locka and surrounding communities, manages a Youth Enrichment Camp as an afterschool program. The program is focused on the improvement of student learning and achievement in reading, science, technology, and mathematics.

“Our afterschool youth participants are K–5, and our program is open Monday through Friday, from 2 to 6 p.m.,” said Jillian McAdory, administrative assistant at Teen Up-Ward Bound. “We do not request that college students volunteer full-time. The ideal tutor’s schedule would be three times a week for two to three hours. However, any help a college student can provide that works best with their schedule would be greatly appreciated.”

The details of this opportunity have been posted in the GivePulse community engagement management system.

Philanthropic Foundation Offering Summer Associate Program to Graduate Students

Philanthropic Foundation Offering Summer Associate Program to Graduate Students

The Rockefeller Foundation is inviting applications for its Summer Associate Program—a competitive program designed for “graduate students [who] are considering a career with a mission-driven organization.”

The program, which “balances the intern’s learning goals with the organization’s needs,” promotes career and professional development.

“We value our summer associates and want to invest in and mentor future leaders who will grow personally and professionally and create impact in the philanthropic sector,” a Rockefeller Foundation statement said. The statement said summer associates would contribute to various initiatives “through engaging, meaningful work assignments.”

The Summer Program is a 10- to 12-week (June–August), full-time experience that includes a “Lunch and Learn” series. Compensation is provided to participants.

The Rockefeller Foundation is “a pioneering philanthropy built on collaborative partnerships at the frontiers of science, technology, and innovation that enable individuals, families, and communities to flourish.” The organization focuses on “scaling renewable energy for all, stimulating economic mobility, and ensuring equitable access to health care and nutritious food.”

When summer associate positions are available, they are posted at The Rockefeller Foundation’s “Careers” website. Only students enrolled in graduate studies are considered for the Summer Associate Program.

Federal Work-Study Community Service

For information on Federal Work-Study Community Service, contact Emmanuel Ikpuri, program facilitator, via email at

Community Engagement News is a publication of the Center for Community Service Initiatives.

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