The Community Involvement Center announced it will be changing its name to the
Center for Community-Engaged Learning in the student senate meeting on Monday. The name will be changed on July 1 of this year.
“We’re looking to streamline the use of our language on this campus,” said Brenda Kowalewski, the director of the CIC. “The national norm is that there’s a lot of different terminology out there that describes community-engaged work.”
She said phrases typically used include civic engagement, service learning and community involvement.
The CIC held four different focus groups during the fall semester with students, faculty, staff and community partners. During the groups, they talked about the different terms used to describe service and gave suggestions about terms they liked.
Weber State University is a one of 316 Carnegie-classified school for community engagement. Because of this, the CIC looked at the other 316 schools’ center’s names. CIC staff members took the names and put them into a database to find the most common words used. The most-used words were “community” and “engaged.” They then presented the most-used words to the focus groups.
“Our community partners could not stand the word ‘civic,'” Kowalewski said. “It sounded really cold and sterile and off-putting. So we knew ‘civic’ couldn’t be in the title, so it was those kinds of conversations.”
She said students liked the word “engagement.” Faculty and students also liked the word “learning.”
“In essence, all of the populations that we serve, we feel like all of them have helped us shape this center title, and each population has their niche represented in the new center title,” Kowalewski said.
Mike Moon, the assistant director of the CIC, talked to the Volunteer Involvement Program students about the new name.
“They think the word ‘engaged’ is much deeper than ‘involved,'” Moon said. “It speaks better to the experiences that they have been having at the Community Involvement Center.”
There was also a whiteboard outside of the CIC for a month asking questions about what community involvement means.
“We think we’ve built a lot of goodwill with students with our Community Involvement Center title, and I don’t want to lose that goodwill with a center name-change,” Kowalewski said.
She said the CIC is giving students six months to get used to the new name. It will soon start advertising the name change. This will include sending out e-mails and newsletters and telling people on social media.
“What we’re hoping is that we will be able to gather some of the folks who haven’t seen themselves fitting in the Community Involvement Center,” Kowalewski said.
She said she hopes people will feel more included with the broader name.
The CIC will be making other changes, including an app for both Android and Apple devices, which is now available for free. The app includes a list of the community partners the center works with, a place for students to register with the CIC and a map of where all the community partners are.
The app has the CIC calendar from its website, and it automatically updates when the website calendar is updated. The app took about three or four months to create and will be advertised along with the new name.
“It’s just our generation; that’s how we get information,” said Chad Saunders, the marketing and programming assistant in the CIC, who helped create the app. “It has multiple uses, but just to help the student know those basic questions, the how, where, when, why (of the CIC).”