Center for Civic Engagement celebrates 25 years

Organization matches students, alumni with community outreach



Center for Civic Engagement employees hand out cupcakes and buttons for the CCE 25th Anniversary on Glen Terrell Mall on Monday.

CHERYL AARNIO, Evergreen reporter

The Center for Civic Engagement held an event Monday on the Glenn Terrell Mall to celebrate the CCE’s 25th anniversary.

Director Melanie Brown said CCE partners with community organizations so students can help serve the public and works with faculty to get students involved in the community.

CCE also matches students with organizations related to issues they’re interested in, Associate Director Ben Calabretta said.

“We enhance student learning by connecting them to the community, connecting them to the issues they care about,” he said.

Ariel Medeiros, a double major in psychology and wildlife ecology, has been involved with the CCE since her freshman year.

“That’s why we are here, is to try to connect [students] with something that they care about, so they’re not just going out and doing eight hours,” she said. “They’re going out and doing eight hours of something they care about.”

They often try to match students to organizations that make sense based on their major, Medeiros said. For example, students in pre-nursing may do community service at a senior center or a school.

Beyond community service, the CCE also helps students register for voting and stay educated about current issues.

This year, WSU students are on track to complete their collective one millionth hour of service, according to a press release for the event.

“The hours sort of catch people’s attention, but it’s really the meaning behind that,” Brown said. “It’s bigger than community service.”

The CCE works not just to help involve students, but to make changes that fix underlying issues in the community, she said.

It is great to volunteer at a soup kitchen, Brown said, but that does not stop poverty. The goal at the CCE is to make changes that lessen the need for service in the community long-term, she said.

“Students are not just the agents of change in the community,” Brown said. “Students are the agents of change on campus as well.”

The CCE is planning more events this year, including some that include alumni.

“People who have done CCE within the last 25 years can still re-engage with CCE because that’s one of the things a lot of people remember,” Medeiros said. “It’s 25 years of students still remembering things that they have done to get involved.”