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A Web Letter from the Office of the Provost - February 2022
Annual Engagement Summit creates connections, highlights student work

By Mary Jane Chew

Annual Engagement Summit creates connections, highlights student work

A record-setting number of faculty, staff, students, and community partners came together to discuss the future of engagement at Purdue during the Office of Engagement’s annual Engagement and Service-Learning Summit earlier this month.

The event kicked off with a fireside chat with Dr. Jerome Adams, Purdue’s executive director of health equity initiatives, distinguished professor of practice, and presidential fellow. The former U.S. Surgeon General discussed the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on engagement opportunities, the potential for collaboration among Purdue health equity initiatives, and the defining characteristics of exceptional university engagement work. Adams stressed the importance of fostering sustainable community partnerships. 

“People have to know you care before they can care about what you know,” Adams said.

The fireside chat was followed by two interactive tracks related to networking, partnership formation, and evaluation and assessment practices. A student service-learning project showcase concluded the event. Virtual posters and digital stories were created by 16 student teams, with topics ranging from the tracking of gray foxes at Wolf Park to the design of a cable management system for nurses at a cancer research center. 

Kayla Vasilko, a Purdue University Northwest graduate student and third-place showcase winner, looks forward to the opportunity to present her service-learning work to faculty, staff, and community partners each year.

"The Purdue Service-Learning Summit is one of my favorite annual conferences because it provides a unique opportunity to share experiences and connect with other scholars and organizations,” Vasilko said. “It helps students like me advance knowledge in a particular discipline and make an immediate difference in the community.”

Misty Morris, an engagement specialist at Bauer Family Resources in Lafayette, says the annual event allows local organizations to develop deeper relationships with potential partners, which helps them better serve their clients.

“A large part of our nonprofit organization is dependent on community relationships – compassionate individuals who partner with us to serve our clients,” Morris said. “Every year, we build another relationship with Purdue. It strengthens outcomes for our clients, and we greatly enjoy the opportunity to interact with students and watch their growth.”

To view all student showcase entries and winners from this year’s Engagement and Service-Learning Summit, click here.

Writer: Carly Rosenberger, rosenbe4@purdue.edu