As of yesterday, the Community Involvement Center at Weber State University now operates under a different name — the Center for Community Engaged Learning.
Brenda Kowalewski, the director for the center and a sociology professor at WSU, said the name change is intended to more clearly articulate what the center does and its role on campus.
“We wanted a title for the center that really represented and was more inclusive of all of those ways in which we engage students,” Kowalewski said.
Kowalewski said the old name connoted that the center only got students engaged in community service and involvement, which is misleading. Kowalewski said the Center for Community Engaged Learning provides support for four different groups — students, faculty and staff, community partners, and alumni — and facilitates three forms of community engagement: service, democratic engagement and community research. She said a new name offers the opportunity to better reflect what the center does, more clearly articulate the center’s mission and expand on infrastructure for the center.
Kowalewski said that, when searching for a new name, the center ran focus groups and facilitated discussion between those it serves about possible names.
“Whatever we called ourselves, ‘community’ had to be in the title,” Kowalewski said.
Students were also able to engage in the discussion on the name change.
“They (the students) felt like ‘involvement’ was too shallow,” Kowalewski said. “It was like when you’re dating someone. But when you’re engaged to someone, it’s much more meaningful. It’s a real commitment between both parties, and they wanted to be engaged with the community, not just involved.”
In addition, many faculty and staff members said that, for them, the center was a strong venue for learning opportunities for students, especially out in the community. The center’s new title helps express this.
Along with the new name, the center’s website is receiving a bit of a makeover, Kowalewski said, changing names and offering resources to those it serves.