Do you remember your recent trip to Muggswigz for coffee? Or that time you picked up a piece of paper lying on the ground? Those were both instances when you participated in “civic engagement.”
“Civic engagement is anything that serves the greater good of the community,” said Ryan Palmer, resident director of Haviland Hall.
The challenge of getting students engaged in the outside community has been a persistent struggle for the Department of Resident Life. However, there are hopes of changing this trend with the implementation of some new initiatives in the coming year.
One of those initiatives will be two floors dedicated to “civic engagement.” This new formation will be spearheaded by resident directors Palmer and Kelly Myers.
Malone has historically been involved in a large consortium of service learning events, but the campus seeks to explore further ways of improving student involvement in the community.
“Is Canton better for having Malone as a part of it?” Palmer said.
Palmer said that the school should be responsible to its city. We are called by Christ to serve our community. Civic engagement will aid students in viewing their lives outside the context of college itself.
“Ryan and I specifically are passionate about connecting with our Canton neighbors and helping students see that they are part of a community bigger than Malone itself, and that part of our calling as Christians is to serve and engage with our city,” Myers said.
Myers said students living on the civic engagement floors will participate in weekly service opportunities in the fall that will hopefully be connected to their own passions and gifts.
The Resident Life Department will be working closely with the Social Work Department. Together they will offer internship credit and structured opportunities for course credit through floor participation. The CE floors will be a new housing option for students and will also contain a life group component.
Junior youth ministry major David Kahoun will be one the first resident assistans to live on a CE floor.
“I chose to do it because I’m really interested in serving the community,” Kahoun said. “I remember growing up and my church would always go out and serve the community, whether it was raking leaves or serving at a soup kitchen during Christmas.”
Kahoun said when he first got to Malone, he was involved in a bunch of community-oriented activities like “Into the Streets” during orientation week. However, once orientation was over, there was no emphasis put on continuing to serve the community.
The civic engagement floors will provide students with the unique opportunity to live together and also serve together for the betterment of the campus and the community of Canton.
Joshua Pleasant is a contributing writer for The Aviso AVW.