YSU hosts inaugural community engagement conference

The YSU Office of Community Engagement will host its inaugural community engagement conference on campus Tuesday, April 18 from 12 – 4 p.m. in Kilcawley Center. YSU students, faculty, staff, and community partners will share presentations on their efforts engaging with the community.

The day begins with a luncheon and interactive session by keynote speaker Bill Lawson, executive director of the Mahoning Valley Historical Society, to an invited audience of community partners about the value of partnerships in furthering organizational goals. Breakout sessions from 1 – 3 p.m. include oral and poster presentations taking place concurrently throughout Kilcawley Center. The afternoon wraps up with a plenary session featuring a panel discussion that will focus on the value of community engagement for all individuals involved. A complete agenda is located here.

Those presenting at the conference answered the call for proposals that went out to campus and community partners earlier this year. Those selected will deliver oral or poster presentations or simply engage in conversation about their work in an idea exchange session.

“We were so excited to receive such a wide variety of proposals that provide a small snapshot of the work happening in our community,” said Lexi Rager, associate director of the Sokolov Honors College.

Topics to be discussed throughout the day include the collaborative mural projects completed between YSU and Youngstown CityScape, Lit Youngstown, and the Andrews Ave Business Group; a student research project on opportunities to focus on the re-population of the Youngstown area; and presentations by partners such as the Ohio Living Vivo Center and MyPath Mahoning Valley. Attendees may also stop by Sight for All United’s vision van, learn more about YSU’s community engagement platform (YSU PenguinPulse), or attend a breakout session on the Honors Magazine Editing & Production seminar as students share examples of serving with various community partners and how they visually told that story.

“I was told when I came in, not to bother with college students. College students were not interested in what we were doing," said Chary Greier Hively, who coordinates volunteers for Community Hospice and will be part of the conference panel. "YSU has proven that wrong beyond a shadow of a doubt.”

The public dissemination of work relating to community engagement is a key component as YSU works towards a larger institutional goal to apply for the Carnegie Elective Classification for Community Engagement.

“We are currently completing a self-study and learning about the incredible community engagement work already happening here and identifying areas for growth,” said Amy Cossentino, associate provost for strategy and engagement and dean of the Sokolov Honors College.

Members of the community are invited to attend any conference session from 1 – 4 p.m. There is no cost to attend. Parking is available in the Wick Avenue parking deck for $5/vehicle.