Community Engagement News

Sep 12, 2022. 5 min read

Community Engagement News September 12, 2022


Friday’s in-person event kicks off academic year’s ‘civic holidays’

Constitution Day

Barry University will observe Constitution Day this Friday, September 16, with a panel discussion on “The Second Amendment and Gun Control Policies.”

The observance will take place in the Events Room of the Landon Student Union, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. It will be the first “civic holiday” for this academic year.

David Ovalle, a reporter at the Miami Herald, is slated to participate on the panel for Friday’s event. Ovalle covers courts and crime for the newspaper.

“It’s always important for citizens to review and reflect upon the U.S. Constitution,” said Dr. Sean Foreman, professor of political science. “While the founding document has not changed much over time, people’s interpretations of the Constitution, and the scope of protections it provides for individual rights, have changed.”

Constitution Day is an American federal observance of the adoption of the United States Constitution. It is normally observed on September 17, the day in 1787 that delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the document in Philadelphia.

The Second Amendment to the Constitution protects the right to keep and bear arms. It was ratified on December 15, 1791, along with nine other articles of the Bill of Rights.

Miami Herald reporter David Ovalle (left) will be a panelist for Friday’s discussion. Professor Sean Foreman has emphasized the importance of examining different perspectives on the Constitution.

“Over time, rights like freedom of religion or speech have generally been expanded and legally protected,” Dr. Foreman noted. He explained, however, that “other rights like the one to own a gun, as stated in the Second Amendment, have not been as clearly defined, and we are wrestling with its meaning now.”

The political science professor emphasized the importance of examining different perspectives on the Constitution while also remembering that “each of our individual rights is valuable and should be protected to the greatest extent possible.”

Barry’s Constitution Day event is organized by the Campus Democracy Project (CDP) Committee and cosponsored by the Center for Community Service Initiatives (CCSI), Department of History and Political Science, and Student Government Association. The CDP is a civic learning and democratic engagement initiative.

As part of the CDP, various “civic holidays” will be observed this semester. In addition to Constitution Day, the CDP schedule of events lists National Voter Registration Day, National Voter Education Week, Vote Early Day, and Election Hero Day.

Several forums are on the schedule of CDP-related events for the academic year. They include the annual Florida Ballot Forum during National Voter Education Week, October 3–7.

Barry Professor Ruth Ban to Receive Changemaking Education Award from Local Organization

Barry Professor Ruth Ban to Receive Changemaking Education Award

A professor in Barry’s Adrian Dominican School of Education, Leadership, and Human Development is among the winners of an award that recognizes community changemakers.

Dr. Ruth Ban will receive the Changemaking Education Award from Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of South Florida at an event next month in Miami Springs. The cash award will be presented in recognition of her work primarily benefiting Afghan refugee families in Miami-Dade.

Dr. Ban guided her students in responding to current educational and social challenges faced by resettled refugees from that war-torn country in Southern Asia. She worked closely with Church World Service Miami, a local refugee resettlement agency.

The award honors K-12 and college/university educators for “contributing to the integration of changemaking education into the curriculum and for making a commitment to connect students through civic learning and service to help meet critical needs in the … community.” It will be presented annually by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of South Florida in partnership with the Miami-Dade County Teacher of the Year Coalition and the Armando Alejandre Jr. Memorial Foundation.

The Center for Community Service Initiatives (CCSI) nominated Dr. Ban for the Changemaking Education Award. Together with other award recipients, she will participate in a panel discussion at the event on October 1 at the Miami Springs Women’s Club.

Summer Volunteers Assist with Garden Maintenance and Service-Learning Classes

Garden Maintenance

Three Barry undergraduates, who served as the AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associates, rendered service that involved tasks in the Barry Urban Garden (BUG). They did maintenance and harvesting and delivered the harvested produce to community fridges in Miami-Dade.

Autumn Davis, Ulises Hernandez III, and Liz Calvo completed a 10-week term of service in July. The trio also assisted with BUG-related educational programs and were site hosts for two service-learning classes.

The BUG is located on the university’s Miami Shores campus. Serving the wider community, the garden was created in response to food insecurity.

Last academic year, Davis, Hernandez, and Calvo participated as fellows in the Barry Service Corps, a civic learning and leadership development program.

International Coastal Clean-Up Day

International Coastal Clean-Up Day is this Saturday, September 17. It is the first major day of service on the community engagement schedule for this academic year.

Barry’s service site is the Virginia Key Beach Park, where students and faculty/staff will “contribute to the health of our oceans by participating in a global beach cleanup effort,” the organizers say.

Volunteers for International Coastal Clean-Up Day will gather on campus by 7 o’clock, travel together to Virginia Key, and will return early afternoon. All volunteers are asked to register via the GivePulse platform.

Deliberative Dialogue Series Gets Underway This Month with Forum Focused on Situation in Haiti

Deliberative Dialogue Series

An all-Haitian panel will be the lead participants in the first forum of this academic year’s Deliberative Dialogue Series on September 22. The forum is titled “Haiti in Turbulent Times: Forging a Path Forward.”

“Panelists and other participants will consider diverse perspectives and approaches to foster peace, development, and well-being for the beleaguered Caribbean nation,” said CCSI Associate Director Courtney Berrien.

Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community partners will take part in the 90-minute event, which is open to the public. They will discuss current social, economic, environmental, and political challenges facing Haiti, which was the world’s first Black republic.

The September 22 forum 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 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 use the platform also 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

Barry Service Corps now hiring for paid positions!

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

Conference Offers Opportunity for Presentations on Service-Learning and Civic Engagement

The annual Gulf South Summit on Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Through Higher Education offers an opportunity for faculty, staff, and students to present the benefits, outcomes, and challenges of their community-engaged work.

The Gulf South Summit will take place April 12–14 in Athens, Georgia, and the deadline for proposal submissions is October 24. The theme is “Serving Our Surroundings: Creating and Sustaining Authentic Community Engagement.”

In the call for proposals, the organizers state: “Presentations might include descriptions of new and established service-learning courses and partnerships and the identified needs they respond to, as well as ways in which these initiatives demonstrate their impact on communities and students.” Presentations, they add, could “enhance our understanding of engagement, reciprocity, service, and equity.”

Presentation formats are listed as individual presentation, interactive workshop, panel discussion, and poster.

Community Engagement News

SYMPOSIUM AND AWARDS: The two premier events organized and hosted annually by the CCSI have been scheduled for the last Wednesday of March. The Ninth Annual Community Engagement Symposium and Tenth Annual Community Engagement Awards will be held on March 29, 2023.

SERVICE-LEARNING DESIGNATION: The CCSI is inviting faculty members whose courses include a service-learning component to apply for the “SL” designation.

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

Email: │ Facebook: barryccsi │ Twitter: @barryccsi │ Instagram: @barryccsi

Sign in to use the pins