Weber State University offers many programs that reach out to the local community, particularly aimed at high-school youth and younger children.

“I think that many similar institutions around the country are more and more committed to being responsible members of the community,” said Kathryn MacKay, coordinator for Arts in the Park. “I mean, this is where our students come from. We’re training the next generation of teachers, business people, community leaders, and we want to be a good neighbor.”

The Arts in the Parks Summer Tour 2012 is a week-long arts program for children taking place at Liberty Park in Ogden, June 18-22. The program immerses children in the local community in arts, theater, poetry and music under the supervision of WSU faculty and students.

According to MacKay, Arts in the Parks was partly inspired by the success of Science in the Parks. Ott Planetarium hosts this week-long science program for children during the same week in June, taking place at Monroe Park in Ogden.

Other programs taking place during the same week include the Northern Utah Summer Robotics Camp for high-school-age students from the Ogden School District, and the WSU GEAR UP program, which is presenting the Summer Enrichment Academy for Ogden School District high-school juniors. This program features hands-on activities in science, technology, entrepreneurship, culture and arts.

MacKay talked about many of the WSU students who participated in the various programs. These groups include the Hispanic Area Council, which contributed bilingual students, and education majors.

She also mentioned that there has been a lot of encouragement for these types of activities from professional organizations and college organizations, and that what is going on at WSU is part of a larger movement on college campuses across the country.

“Part of what’s going on is that Weber’s part of a national conversation, a national effort to be mindful that a college is an important dynamic in the community and we are an important resource,” she said. “Why don’t we build on our strengths? Our strengths are the faculty and the program, and let’s go do something in the neighborhood.”

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