Civic Engagement hosts Connect Fest for Cougs

Terrell Mall saw variety of student booths, free Ferdinand’s ice cream



Ryan Lazo, left, community partnership coordinator for the Center for Civic Engagement, and graduate assistant Marie Gray speak with students about activities and events for Civic Engagement during Connect Fest on Wednesday afternoon on Glenn Terrell Mall.

CHLOE GRUNDMEIER, Evergreen reporter

The Center for Civic Engagement showcased student opportunities on the Glenn Terrell Friendship Mall on Wednesday, hoping to encourage students to venture into their community.

To share some of these opportunities with students, the CCE set up Connect Fest. Over 50 registered student organizations and 30 community partners tabled on the mall to encourage students to get involved.

“The goal is for students to chat with us and the organizations to find one that works for them,” Ryan Lazo, CCE community partnership coordinator, said. “We want to help them find their community while they’re on the Palouse.”

CCE Assistant Director Tiffanie Braun said the organization wants to form the connections between WSU students and community partners so they can work together. Connect Fest was co-sponsored by WSU Student Involvement and Braun’s office.

“From a university perspective, we know that for student success and retention it’s about helping them to build connections,” Braun said. “This type of event provides opportunities for students to find ways to feel connected to their community, on or off campus.”

During Connect Fest, CCE gave out free Ferdinand’s ice cream and the community partners and RSOs provided sundae toppings. This was to encourage the students to talk with a range of different kinds of organizations.

The 85 partners who tabled on the mall included ASWSU, the Disability Action Center, multiple transportation services and more.

Greek organization La Hermandad de O eMe Te sold tacos, Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity had their “Hot Coug” BBQ stand and the Automotive Enthusiast Club had a pizza stand.

CCE is celebrating its 25th birthday Monday with cupcakes and “Cause Buttons” on the mall. CCE currently has 30 Cause Buttons brainstormed by Alive! students over the summer. These buttons represent issues and causes students care about. Students can wear them to show what they stand for.

“Our hope is that the Cause Buttons provide an opportunity for conversation and dialogue around these issues,” Braun said. “They’re an opportunity for students to declare the issues and causes that they care about.”

The Cause Buttons currently cover topics such as marriage equality, religious freedom and the environment. Students can create their own Cause Buttons on Monday in case one doesn’t fit their needs.

CCE’s birthday event will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday on the Terrell Mall. Cupcakes and Cause Buttons are free to attendees.

“We get to help [the students] realize that there’s a bigger community outside of campus,” Lazo said. “Part of the college experience is being involved in the local community because they are a huge part of it while they’re here.”

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to reflect that no international groups were on the mall and that over 50 RSOs, not 30, tabled and there were 30, not 50, community groups.