By Danelle Wagner, CCNYPA*VISTA Leader
I had the privilege of attending two campus compact conferences in the past month! The first was the Continuums of Service Conference that was held at the University of San Diego and hosted by the Western Region Campus Compact in the beginning of March. The theme for this conference was “Beyond Borders, Embracing Multiple Ways of Knowing and Being.” The second was the Eastern Region Campus Compact Conference held in Providence, Rhode Island at the end of March. The focus for this conference was “Education for Democracy: Innovating in Complex Times.” Both of these regional conferences happen biennially during the opposite year of the National Campus Compact Conference.
Both conferences provided opportunities to expand my network and enhance my knowledge around work in higher education. The ability to meet new people who are passionate about the great work that they are doing, is one of my favorite things about conferences. I was able to make connections with folks serving at Universities and Campus Compacts all across the country! I also attended countless workshops, plenaries, and heard some truly inspiring keynote speakers. I gathered dialogue tools for addressing community conflict, learned about decolonizing approaches to engagement, lessons learned from international service trips, and so much more! One of my favorite workshops was on how to use photographs to tell service learning stories. We discussed how gardening photos are some of the most popular and “sexy” service photos, but that it is important to select photos that demonstrate your work, that support your mission, and that are representative of your community avoiding “white savior complex”. There is so much value in hiring or designating a photographer for each event and creating a shot list, so you are not stuck with whatever selfies attendees are willing to share.
I am extremely grateful that I had the opportunity for professional development through these two fabulous conferences! I would recommend regional campus compact conferences to anyone interested or working in higher education with a focus on community and civic engagement.
Welcome to the CCNYPA*VISTA Blog, written for VISTAs, by VISTAs!