Oct. 24, 2022
VCU invites community to participate in Connect: Community Engagement Conference on Nov. 2
Day of learning, networking and skill development will highlight the impact of successful community partnerships.
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Virginia Commonwealth University will host a community event on Nov. 2 highlighting community partnerships, their impact on Central Virginia and how community members can get involved.
The Connect: Community Engagement Conference, sponsored by the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences and the VCU Office of Institutional Equity, Effectiveness and Success, invites community members, community organizations and faculty, staff, students and alumni at VCU to come together for a day of learning, networking and skill development.
Participants in the event, which will take place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Nov. 2 at VCU’s University Student Commons (907 Floyd Ave.), will engage with speakers from VCU and around the region as they showcase the impact of successful community partnerships. Registration by this Thursday, Oct. 27, is required.
“Community engagement and partnerships are vital to collaboratively address the challenges and harness the opportunities in the local economy, society and environment that none of us can do alone and to ensure that everyone mutually benefits from those activities,” said event co-organizer Shari Garmise, Ph.D., executive director for collective urban and regional impact in VCU’s Office of Institutional Equity, Effectiveness and Success. “This conference is a place to strengthen existing relationships and build new ones with the goal of creating new partnerships, align the work already in process and increase our impact.”
Community engagement is central to VCU’s commitment to the region’s communities. VCU is one of only 65 public universities nationwide classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a doctoral university with very high research activity as well as its prestigious community engagement status. This conference is an opportunity for community members to engage directly with university faculty, staff, students and alumni around these efforts.
The event’s organizers hope community members will share their perspectives on how to address the issues that are relevant to the larger community, including challenges facing the region around health, education, equity and cultural vitality. They want participants to learn from speakers whose projects can serve as resources to strengthen the capacity of community members seeking to address these issues, and vice versa, says event co-organizer Faye Belgrave, Ph.D., associate dean for equity and community partnerships at VCU’s College of Humanities and Sciences.
“Community partnerships and engagement are essential, given the historical and contemporary context of VCU as an urban-serving university. These community partnerships are part of what makes VCU uncommon — our dedication to collaborating with the communities we serve to help them thrive,” Belgrave said. “This conference is for everyone committed to making VCU and the Richmond community a better place to live.”
Keynote speakers include:
- Lynn Pelco, Ph.D., a senior scholar at the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement at the University of Richmond and a professor emerita at VCU, where she served as the associate vice provost for community engagement from 2012 to 2021. Pelco will speak on building ethical, sustainable and successful partnerships.
- Maghboeba Mosavel, Ph.D., associate vice president of community partnerships at VCU and an associate professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Policy at VCU’s School of Medicine. Mosavel will work with participants to explore a vision and framework for community partnerships in the region and discuss ways in which partnerships can be mutually beneficial with positive impact for community partners and for VCU.
Other speakers include VCU students and faculty involved in research around the university alongside representatives from local government, schools and community organizations, including the Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Richmond, Healthy Heart Plus, Henrico County Public Schools, Richmond City Health District, Richmond Public Schools and Sacred Heart Center.
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