Community Engagement News

Jan 17, 2023. 5 min read

Community Engagement News January 17, 2023


Spring Semester’s Community Engagement Events Include ‘Welcome Day’ for Recently Resettled Refugees

Thanksgiving Celebration

Welcome Day will include activities similar to those at last year’s Thanksgiving Celebration hosted by Church World Service Miami, a local refugee resettlement agency. (Photo by Heather Johnson Desiral)

Students, faculty, and staff will roll out the welcome mat for recently resettled refugees at an on-campus event next month. “Refugee Welcome Day” is one of this semester’s community engagement events that will emphasize Barry University’s commitment to social justice.

In partnership with Church World Service (CWS) Miami, the Center for Community Service Initiatives (CCSI) will host Welcome Day activities on February 4.

Last November, Church World Service (CWS) Miami hosted a pre-Thanksgiving Day celebration for recently resettled refugees—with a little help from Barry students, faculty, and staff. The event took place on the university’s main campus, where more than 40 refugees from Afghanistan, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Ukraine, and Venezuela were treated to lunch, entertainment, and goody bags.

The Welcome Day event for refugees will include activities similar to those for the pre-Thanksgiving Day celebration.

The Doral-based CWS Miami is one of four South Florida offices of the global, faith-based organization dedicated to “transforming communities around the globe through just and sustainable responses to hunger, poverty, displacement and disaster.” CWS South Florida welcomes, feeds, and clothes newcomers; reunites and strengthens families; and enables resettled immigrants to become self-sufficient and integrated members of U.S. society.

Also on the spring semester schedule are two events organized by Miami PACT (People Acting for Community Together) and Barry’s Alternative Spring Break.

Miami PACT’s North Dade Rally is slated for February 27, and the organization’s Nehemiah Action Assembly will take place on March 13. Barry students and faculty/staff members are expected to attend both events.

A “direct action” organization composed of 40 congregations, Miami PACT aims to “build people power for justice” and to “hold public officials accountable to create systemic change in Miami-Dade County.”

Miami PACT usually hosts large community assemblies where public officials are encouraged to adopt solutions to serious problems. The North Dade Rally and the Nehemiah Action Assembly are two such assemblies.

Alternative Spring Break

The Alternative Spring Break event is scheduled for March 4–10. Students and faculty/staff members will travel to Montgomery, Alabama, with stops in Rosewood—the main service site—and Tallahassee, Florida.

In Rosewood, participants will assist with a project to clear a property that will be developed as a historical site to memorialize the victims of the Rosewood Massacre.

“They will help prepare the grounds, which will be developed into a memorial park available to groups engaged in truth and reconciliation processes,” said CCSI Associate Director Courtney Berrien.

The Rosewood Massacre occurred a century ago, in January 1923, after a white woman alleged that she was sexually assaulted by a Black man. In a week of terror that followed the alleged rape, several residents of the predominantly African American town in Levy County were murdered. The terrified survivors were chased into the swamps, and their houses, churches, and stores were burned to the ground.

“The future park will sit on the site of the massacre,” Berrien explained. “The service project will involve the removal of brush and debris and the creation of a contemplative walking path. When completed, the path will have 20 benches, including a bench sponsored by Barry University.”

The CCSI is planning this year’s Alternative Spring Break event in association with the Miami Center for Racial Justice and the Miami-Dade TEAR (Truth, Education, and Reconciliation) Initiative

As one of Barry’s four core commitments, social justice is promoted through teaching, research, and service. The university “expects all members of our community to … engage in meaningful efforts toward social change.”

Deliberative Dialogue Series Continues Next Month with Forum on ‘Bridging the Political Divide’

Fostering Resiliency In Times of Uncertainty

The academic year’s Deliberative Dialogue Series will continue next month with a forum focused on “bridging the political divide.”

The Center for Community Service Initiatives (CCSI) is organizing the 90-minute event in association with the Campus Democracy Project.

In a statement about the topic of the forum, the CCSI said: “Floridians are divided over their understanding of the role race has played in the state’s history and continues to play in society today. For the most part, this division follows political lines that became more entrenched by the introduction of Florida’s ‘anti-woke’ policies and resistance to them.”

As mentioned in the statement, the forum will bring together community leaders, students, faculty, staff, and alumni in “respectful discussion aimed at building common understanding of the related issues, foster collaboration, and identify creative approaches to overcoming social divisions.”

The February 9 forum, which is the third in the series, is scheduled for 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. in Room 112 of the Andreas Building on Barry’s Miami Shores campus. Students are encouraged to register for the event via the Corq app.

Deliberative Dialogue is a series of facilitated forums that elicit “voices and views from campus and community.” This year’s series is aimed at “fostering resiliency in times of uncertainty.”


Students, Faculty, and Staff Urged to Submit Nominations for Community Engagement Awards

Community Engagement Award Nominations

Students, faculty, and staff members are urged to submit nominations for Barry’s 10th Annual Community Engagement Awards. The deadline for the submission of nominations is 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 March 29. Additional information and the nomination forms are available at the CCSI website.

Deadline for Submissions of Proposals for Presentations Community Engagement Symposium is Fast Approaching

Community Engagement Symposium: Call for Proposals

The deadline for the submission of proposals for presentations at Barry’s Ninth Annual Community Engagement Symposium is fast approaching. Proposals for 50-minute, peer-reviewed presentations should be submitted by January 27. 

The Center for Community Service Initiatives (CCSI) has called for proposals from students, faculty, staff, and community partners.

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

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, it 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.

The concurrent session proposal form is available at the CCSI website and from Dr. Glenn Bowen at

Community Service Placements Available to Students Eligible for Federal Work-Study

Community service positions available

Community service positions are available to students who are eligible for Federal Work-Study. Students who accept such positions are enrolled in the Barry Service Corps, a civic engagement program.

The Barry Service Corps supports students in applying civic and academic learning to real-world problems. While serving the community through nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and local government agencies, members develop interpersonal, teamwork, and other career-related skills.

The CCSI manages FWS Community Service in partnership with the Office of Financial Aid and the Department of Human Resources. The CCSI’s approach to the program is based on interdivisional and campus–community collaboration and involves the full integration of FWS Community Service into Barry’s strategic plan for community engagement. As part of the plan, the CCSI enrolls all participating students in the Barry Service Corps.

For further information, contact Emmanuel Ikpuri, program facilitator for FWS Community Service, via email:

Students, Faculty, and Staff Urged to Use Community Engagement Platform

The CCSI is urging students, faculty, and staff to use the GivePulse platform for managing and monitoring service-learning, volunteer, and other civic engagement projects.

GivePulse is designed to make course/project management processes efficient and effective. A self-described “community of volunteers, professionals, civic leaders and service-learning students,” GivePulse provides an online platform with a central database that supports community engagement.

Students can use the system to register for service-learning projects created by their professors and to connect with community partners. All volunteers will be able to track their participation and contributions to the community, with information stored in one place.

Community partners have posted community service events and opportunities via GivePulse. They also use the platform to verify specific service activities and the number of hours provided by each student or faculty/staff volunteer.

For additional information, contact the CCSI at

Community Engagement Symposium: Call for Entries

See details of the Student Poster Competition at the CCSI website or contact Dr. Heather Johnson Desiral in the CCSI at

Nationally Recognized Nonprofit Offering Community Outreach and Engagement Internships

National Voices for Equality, Education and Enlightenment (NVEEE): Internship Opportunity

A nationally recognized nonprofit organization is offering community outreach and engagement internships as a virtual opportunity for college students.

National Voices for Equality, Education and Enlightenment (NVEEE) says the unpaid internships are “ongoing” and students may apply at any time.

Responsibilities assigned to interns include updating NVEEE’s partnership database, supporting collaboration with community partners, and developing an outreach plan for prospective members and partners. Interns also represent NVEEE at community events, social gatherings, and educational workshops.

“We offer virtual opportunities for students to receive volunteer hours or internship/academic credit (student chooses if they would like to receive credit and must receive approval from their school),” NVEEE announced recently.

According to information at its website, NVEEE’s mission is “to prevent bullying, violence, and suicide among youth, families, and communities through direct service, mentoring, and prevention education.” The organization provides “interactive educational dialogues and leadership programs that address bullying, mental health, social inequities, and stereotypes and are designed to surface community-based solutions that support the health and well-being of all youth.”

Details of community outreach and engagement internships are available via the GivePulse community engagement platform.


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

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