UVU has numerous clubs and organizations devoted to continuously improving campus life and student experiences. One of these premier organizations, the Center for Social Impact (CSI) is actively working to “develop compassionate community members who collaborate on strategic social impact.”
According to its website, the CSI provides “curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular student experiences in six diverse pathways of social impact.” These pathways include direct service, community-engaged learning and research, social entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility, policy and governance, community organizing and activism, and philanthropy.
“Our approach to this mission employs an innovative framework, strategies, and actions to provide students, and actions to provide students with a range of meaningful social impact learning experiences and skills that are applicable to their personal and professional lives,” explains the CSI’s new outreach program director Jamey Williams.
The CSI believes that compassionate community members are those who are locally, nationally, or even globally involved in their community and governance. Compassionate community members make communal involvement and engagement a priority in their values and life choices, according to the page dedicated to their approach. The site also dives into their idea of social impact, which is a “significant, positive change that addresses a pressing community-identified social issue in a sustainable and just way.” The organization puts heavy emphasis on producing positive and lasting change from their efforts.
The organization also approaches its mission by encouraging members to inhibit eight primary social impact values: accountability, compassionate relationality, equity, humility, imagination, reciprocal collaboration, rigor, and sustainability.
Their mission is broken down into several goals stretching over short-, mid-, and long-term periods. Long-term, the CSI wants to produce “vibrant, equitable communities built by compassionate community members,” by helping students prepare for graduation and complete educational goals in the short term and cultivating a passion for community involvement along the way.
Another way the CSI continues to actively pursue its mission is by holding regular campus events to spread its message. Every fall and spring semester, they host a Social Impact Fair for “UVU students, staff, and faculty to connect with local and regional community partners,” said Williams. The fair is a chance to learn about “volunteer and internship opportunities, awareness-raising initiatives, and community engagement work.” This semester’s fair was held on Wednesday, Sept. 13. The next fair will be held on Feb. 13 and 14, 2024.
Williams recalled seeing “a lot of positive interactions and dialogue happening between our UVU community and the partners that participated.” She also noted that community partners are a huge help to the CSI as they continue to achieve their mission.
Through its service-learning-oriented curriculum, the CSI has provided over “174,000 hours of impact.” UVU service-learning students also show higher quality learning and progress in student-faculty interaction, reflective and integrative learning, and collaborative learning.