Community Engagement News

Apr 03, 2023. 5 min read

Community Engagement News April 3, 2023


Barry University Again Designated a ‘Voter Friendly Campus’ by National Organizations

Voter Friendly Campus

This is the second time that the university has earned the “Voter Friendly Campus” designation. The university’s Campus Democracy Project facilitated student voter registration, education, and mobilization.

Barry University has again received the “Voter Friendly Campus” designation from Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project and NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. The designation indicates that the university has committed itself to supporting student voter registration, education, and turnout.

“We are honored to be recognized as a Voter Friendly Campus,” Barry University President Dr. Mike Allen said. “Barry’s commitment to civic engagement goes beyond major election years, and we are proud of our continuous efforts to empower students with the information and tools they need to participate in the political process.”

In all, 258 colleges and universities in 38 states and the District of Columbia received the Voter Friendly Campus designation for 2023–2024. The designation is valid through December 2024. 

The institutions were evaluated on their ability to complete a three-step process: develop a written plan for how they would engage student voters in 2022; facilitate voter education and engagement efforts on campus; and submit a final analysis of their efforts.

Barry’s Campus Democracy Project (CDP)—a nonpartisan initiative focused on civic learning and democratic engagement—facilitated student voter registration, education, and mobilization. CDP-related events included voter registration drives, educational forums, and get-out-the vote campaigns.

With support from the Department of History and Political Science, the Center for Community Service Initiatives established the CDP in 2012 to encourage voting among students and to foster interest in political issues at the local, state, and national levels.

The Voter Friendly Campus program began in 2017, and Barry was named a Voter Friendly Campus for the first time in 2021.

Campus Vote Project and NASPA have jointly released the full list of institutions that have earned the Voter Friendly Campus designation for 2023–2024. Twenty of them are from Florida.

Students and Faculty Members Receive Awards for Achievements in Community Engagement

Students and Faculty Members Receive Awards for Achievements in Community Engagement
Students and Faculty Members Receive Awards for Achievements in Community Engagement
Students and Faculty Members Receive Awards for Achievements in Community Engagement
Students and Faculty Members Receive Awards for Achievements in Community Engagement

AWARD WINNERS: Ketty St. Hubert receives her award from Dr. Victor Romano, vice provost for student success and undergraduate studies; Valentine Thomas from Dr. Pamela Hall; Dr. Katsiaryna Matusevich from Dr. Fabio Naranjo; and Dr. Dale Hartz from Dr. Lauren Shure. Drs. Hall, Naranjo, and Shure are previous winners and current members of the Community Engagement Awards Committee.

Three students and two faculty members are this year’s winners of awards for community engagement. They were honored last Wednesday at an event that featured presentations of projects completed by students and faculty.

Ekaterina Elagina, a graduate student in the School of Education, Leadership, and Human Development was honored with the Spirit of Service Award.

The Community Impact Award was presented to Ketty St. Hubert, a member of the Barry Service Corps, and Valentine Thomas, a fellow in the Barry Service Corps.

Dr. Katsiaryna Matusevich, an associate professor of human resource development, and Dr. Dale Hartz, an assistant professor of management, received the Community Engagement Educator Award.

Ms. Elagina’s award was “for exemplary service in support of displaced people.” She developed an initiative to provide vital educational, social-emotional, and other services for Ukrainian children and families who have fled from their war-torn homeland to Miami.

Ketty St. Hubert contributed hundreds of hours assisting community partners, especially Doctors Charter School and A New Start: Financial and Social Services. As president of Barry’s Haitian Student Organization, she supported several community engagement initiatives. 

Valentine Thomas became deeply involved in the work of Breakthrough Miami, providing academic and social enrichment support to young people. He also encouraged and supported civic engagement among his peers. 

Dr. Matusevich designed, developed, and implemented a variety of leadership training programs for children, young adults, and aspiring professionals in the Greater Miami community. A former service-learning faculty fellow, she designed the first service-learning course for the master’s in human resource development program.

Dr. Hartz is credited with “impactful initiatives,” including consulting projects, that have benefited the community. A former service-learning faculty fellow, he also inspired students through experiential learning opportunities that engaged them with the community.

Last Wednesday’s event, the Community Engagement Showcase and Awards, also featured PechaKucha and poster presentations by students and faculty. The students’ poster presentations highlighted the impact of civic engagement projects on the community as well as on the students themselves.

Barry Volunteers Will Contribute to Environmental Preservation on ‘Sustainability Saturday’

Sustainability Saturday

April 15 is Barry’s “Sustainability Saturday”—the last major day of service for the academic year. Volunteers will take part in a cleanup project at the Virginia Key Beach Park. 

The service project, which is scheduled for 2 to 5 p.m., will provide an avenue for volunteers to honor the Adrian Dominican commitment to uphold the “sacredness of the Earth.”

On “Sustainability Saturday” last year, a team of Barry students and staff went to Matheson Hammock Park to help preserve the health of South Florida’s coastal environs. The county park, located along Biscayne Bay near Coral Gables, includes over 600 acres of mangroves and other marine vegetation.

Australian Pine
Australian Pine

Miami-Dade County is trying to get rid of the Australian Pine, which kills understory plants.

The Barry team spent the afternoon removing invasive species, including the Australian Pine, which was introduced to Florida in the late 1800s as a salt-tolerant tree that could provide shade while serving as a windbreak along coastal areas and protecting commercial crops. Currently, Miami-Dade County is trying to get rid of the Australian Pine, which kills the understory of native plants.

Volunteers for the “Sustainability Saturday” project are asked to register via GivePulse, the community engagement platform. Volunteers will meet in the Landon Student Union (Events Room) at 1:30 p.m.

For further information, contact Dr. Valerie Scott, experiential learning coordinator in the CCSI, at or 305-899-3728.

One Forum Remains on Spring Semester Schedule for Campus Democracy Project

Campus Democracy Project Forum

The Legislative Forum on March 22 featured an update from the Village of Miami Shores. Mayor Sandra Harris and Village Manager Esmond Scott participated.

One forum remains on the spring semester schedule for Barry’s Campus Democracy Project (CDP). The Democracy Forum will take place on April 19.

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

A Legislative Forum on March 22 featured an update from the Village of Miami Shores. Mayor Sandra Harris and Village Manager Esmond Scott participated in the forum.

Campus Democracy Project Forum

Village of Miami Shores Mayor Sandra Harris and Village Manager Esmond Scott with some of the Barry attendees.

It was the second of two Legislative Forums this semester. The first took place on January 25, when Sen. Jason Pizzo, D-Miami, participated.

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.

Building Resiliency in the Face of Climate Change

National Organization Calls for Engaged Scholarship Conference Session Proposals

Engaged Scholarship Conference

The Engagement Scholarship Consortium (ESC) has issued a call for proposals for presentations at its annual conference on October 4–5 in East Lansing, Michigan.

The conference theme will be “Mobilizing Change through Engaged Scholarship,” and proposals should be submitted by this Friday, April 7 (extended from March 31).

“The 2023 ESC Conference will provide a platform for intentional conversations about how engaged scholarship can lead to significant, positive impacts in the community and the academy,” the organizers say. “Proposals will be considered on any topic clearly connected to the advancement of engaged scholarship.”

Some of the focus areas of presentations at the conference are evaluation and assessment for engagement, approaches to building sustainable partnerships, community-engaged teaching and learning, and community-engaged research. Among others are innovation and new technologies for engagement, leadership and engagement, and civic and democratic engagement as well as engagement for diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice.

Conference session formats include symposium, interactive workshop, roundtable, panel, and poster.

The ESC is a nonprofit educational organization composed of higher education institutions, a mix of state/public and private institutions. The consortium’s main goal is “to work collaboratively to build strong university–community partnerships anchored in the rigor of scholarship and designed to help build community capacity.”

Community Engagement News: Next Week

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AWARDS: This year’s winners of awards for community engagement received plaques, and rousing applause, during a luncheon on March 29.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PRESENTATIONS: Students, faculty, and community partners made PechaKucha and poster presentations at the Community Engagement Showcase and Awards on March 29.

CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS: Barry graduate students and faculty members have been making presentations on community engagement topics at various conferences.

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

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