Campus Community / Society, Justice and Law

Seattle University to Receive Award for Work with Surrounding Neighborhoods

May 7, 2020

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Seattle University will be recognized for its commitment to its adjacent neighborhoods next week by Campus Compact, which will bestow its Richard Guarasci and Eduardo J. Padrón Awards for Institutional Transformation.

Seattle University will be recognized for its commitment to its adjacent neighborhoods next week by Campus Compact, which will bestow its Richard Guarasci and Eduardo J. Padrón Awards for Institutional Transformation.

According to Campus Compact, “Seattle University is recognized for its deep place-based commitment to the neighborhoods adjacent to the campus. A highlight of this work is the Seattle University Youth Initiative, a partnership with community-based organizations, local government and K-12 schools to develop a ‘cradle to career’ pathway of support for 1,000 children and their families in a two-square-mile neighborhood next to campus. The program has built trust between Seattle University faculty, staff, students and community partners, helped increase academic achievement among local elementary school students, contributed to the overall health of the community and provided excellent learning experiences for Seattle University students.”

The Richard Guarasci Award for Institutional Transformation and the Eduardo J. Padrón Award for Institutional Transformation recognize four-year institutions and community colleges that have successfully implemented institution-wide efforts to address issues of public concern by aligning teaching, research, practice and values in service of the common good.

“This award represents the commitment and work of hundreds of faculty, thousands of students and so many of our innovative and committed neighborhood partners,” says Kent Koth, executive director of Seattle U’s Center for Community Engagement. “It also symbolizes the vital importance of Seattle U’s sense of place as we interconnect with some of Seattle’s most vibrant and diverse neighborhoods.”

Five additional universities, including Seattle Central College, also will be receiving the award on May 11.

“Seattle University is a vital partner to Seattle Housing Authority and to so many other organizations, community leaders and local residents,” said Andrew Lofton, executive director, in a letter to support Seattle U’s award nomination. The university was education lead for SHA’s Choice Neighborhoods grant. Although the grant expired in 2019, “our partnership with Seattle University remains as strong as ever. Seattle University staff continue the work of the Choice Neighborhoods education effort by convening partners and providing programming,” added Lofton.

About the Seattle U Center for Community Engagement and the Seattle University Youth Initiative

In 2004, Seattle University created the Center for Community Engagement to centralize its efforts to connect the campus and community to deepen student learning, enhance faculty scholarship and pursue community impact. Through this centralized approach the number of courses with a service-learning component quickly grew to more than 200 courses in more than 30 disciplines and programs.

To increase its focus on community impact, the university embarked on an ambitious three-year campus and community organizing process that culminated with the February 2011 launch of the Seattle University Youth Initiative (SUYI), the largest community engagement initiative in university history. Through the Youth Initiative the university partners with the City of Seattle, Seattle Housing Authority, Seattle Public Schools, dozens of community-based organizations and hundreds of residents to create a pathway of support for 1,000 children and their families living in a two-square mile neighborhood near campus.

In mobilizing the campus to engage, the Youth Initiative also deepens the educational experiences of Seattle University students and enhances professional development opportunities for faculty and staff. The Youth Initiative’s place-based focus encompasses three vibrant and historically important Seattle neighborhoods including the Chinatown-International District, Yesler Terrace and the Central District.

Recognizing the opportunity to learn by coming together, CCE created the Place-Based Justice Network. Twenty universities from across the country participate in activities to exchange ideas and lessons learned in place-based community engagement.

Campus Compact is a national coalition of more than 1,000 colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. Campus Compact supports institutions in fulfilling this mission by deepening their ability to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility.


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