West Virginia Campus Compact, a statewide initiative sponsored by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and housed at West Virginia University, has been awarded a $250,000 grant from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation to create a civic engagement service learning model involving training and mini-grants to partnerships between member colleges and community organizations.
The West Virginia Community Development Hub is partnering with Campus Compact to identify appropriate community development projects in the Hub’s focus communities. It is expected that approximately 24 community development projects will be connected to six colleges and universities in the state.
“Our communities will benefit significantly from engaging students and faculty in the work to improve their communities,” said Kent Spellman, executive director of the Hub.“Campus Compact is the perfect partner and this project will help show communities across West Virginia the value and importance of our institutions of higher learning.”
West Virginia Campus Compact, which is part of a national coalition of more than 1,100 colleges and universities representing approximately six million students, is comprised of 26 member institutions, including public and private and four-year and two-year colleges and universities. By encouraging civic engagement in higher education, the program provides opportunities for students to engage in service learning and community service.
"West Virginia Campus Compact is grateful and pleased to receive this award,” said Franchesca Nestor, the program’s director. “As a result of this funding, we will be able to create strong links between our campuses and communities, leading to the kind of long-term and important partnerships that can make a difference for our students, our citizens, and our state. It is our hope that the model, which will be generated by this grant, can be implemented again and again between equal campus and community partners for years to come."
“I applaud Ms. Nestor and the state’s colleges and universities for embracing the role and mission of Campus Compact,” said Dr. Brian Noland, HEPC chancellor. “Campus Compact provides a link between students and the local community in which they live and learn. This link fosters strong community ties for students, while positively impacting the lives of local residents.”
The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation is an independent foundation established in 1944 by Michael and Sarah Benedum, natives respectively of Bridgeport and Blacksville, WestVirginia. They named the Foundation in memory of their only child, Claude Worthington Benedum, who died in 1918 at age 20. Grants are made in the areas of education, economic development, civic engagement, health and human services, and community development to
advance specific initiatives in West Virginia and Southwestern Pennsylvania. The grant will be administered by the West Virginia University Foundation.