The Carnegie Foundation has announced that Denison University has received the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, an elective designation that indicates an institutional commitment to community engagement.
“These institutions are doing exceptional work to forward their public purpose in and through community engagement that enriches teaching and research while also benefiting the broader community,” notes Mathew Johnson, executive director of the Swearer Center.
Denison student Caroline Bremer ’21 says, “It is important to have a civically engaged campus because it brings students together and enacts positive change in both the campus community and the surrounding communities.”
Tovey Nederveld ’20, says, “To me, being a civically engaged campus would not be possible without first fostering a community that allows for communication within and between diverse groups of people both on campus and in the surrounding areas. Students at Denison that participate in civic engagement feel comfortable using what they have learned both in the classroom and through their co-curriculars to make a difference for the people and communities that are important to them.”
Denison is one of 119 U.S. colleges and universities, and one of only 22 national baccalaureate colleges to receive the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification. This classification is awarded following a process of self-study by each institution, which is then assessed by a national review committee led by the Swearer Center for Public Engagement at Brown University, the administrative and research home for the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.
“One of the most notable qualities of the Denison community is its members’ dedication to civic engagement,” says Sarah Schubert ’21. “Being a part of a campus recognized for its community involvement is important to me because it reflects the social commitment shared by students. Denison’s promotion of service gives individuals the opportunity to use their passions as agents for change. I believe organizations, such as the Denison Community Association, have the power to unite our campus and incite movements that make a difference.”
Denison students annually log over 40,000 hours of community service in service-learning courses or Denison Community Association (DCA) committees. Last year, DCA volunteers partnered with over 20 local nonprofit agencies, typically volunteering weekly on-site at each agency. These service-learning courses and projects immerse students in the issues, cultures, and communities of the surrounding community.
Abby Valentine’21 notes, “Living within a civically-engaged community means being surrounded by people who care. Whether that means going from dorm to dorm to register voters, waking up early on a day off to participate in Martin Luther King’s Day of Service, or leaving campus to volunteer at a local elementary school for Big Brothers Big Sisters, Denison students demonstrate an inclination to spend their time and energy in a way that betters their surroundings.”
The Carnegie Foundation’s Classification for Community Engagement is an elective classification, meaning that it is based on voluntary participation by institutions. The elective classification involves data collection and documentation of important aspects of institutional mission, identity, and commitments and requires substantial effort invested by participating institutions.