RIT Students Celebrate Civic Engagement Week

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Forums to be held on campus and in Rochesterís northeast neighborhood

Community involvement is an important part of life for many Rochester Institute of Technology students like Lyndsey Fisher, a second-year public policy major and Student Leadership Corps coordinator. Fisher and other students involved with SLC will share their experiences with the RIT community during National Student Civic Engagement Week, Feb. 16-22.

RITís SLC and the Learn and Serve America project, a community-based learning program in the College of Liberal Arts, will sponsor student and community forums to inspire other students to get active. Fisher and M. Ann Howard, associate professor and Learn and Serve America project director, with Student Affairs, organized the events with help from a grant from the New York Campus Compact, supported by Pew Charitable Trusts.

"We are very excited to be participating in this national effort to encourage university students to become involved in their community," Howard says.

A college- and high-school student forum on civic engagement will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 16, in the Student Alumni Union cafeteria to introduce several perspectives on community participation. Student panelists will include Joe Abbate, fifth-year electrical engineering major, Dave Campbell, fourth-year computer science major, Bryan Barnes, first-year mechanical engineering student, Erick Littleford, fourth-year public policy major, Denishea Flanigan, third-year business student, Matt Howard, 15, from Edison Tech High School, and Cortez Jones, 16, from East High School. The featured speaker will be Genoveva Aguilar, a University of California at San Diego student, whose community activism earned her the 2002 National Campus Compact Howard R. Shearer award.

Fisher hopes the event will encourage more students to become involved in community activities. Among other out-of-classroom learning opportunities, SLC recently created a youth-to-youth program that brings together RIT students and students from the Rochester public school system.

"The personal relationships motivate me," Fisher says.

Community involvement, Fisher adds, can break down a lot of barriers. "It opens peopleís minds. You get a better idea of what Rochester is and can be."

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter will be the keynote speaker at a community forum at 7 p.m. on Feb. 17 at the Freddie Thomas Learning Center, highlighting RITís partnership with the Northeast Neighborhood Alliance.

For more information, call 475-5291.

RITís Learn and Serve America project is made possible through a grant from the congressionally chartered Corporation for National and Community Service. The program centers on a unique collaboration among RITís College of Liberal Arts and Division of Student Affairs, the cityís NorthEast Neighborhood Alliance and the Center for Governmental Research.