Schulz Learning Center at SSU

“ Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. ”
—Chief Seattle, 1855

SSU students at a table

Diversity and Community Engagement Mini-Conference 2011


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by Natalie Hambalek

"I felt the presentation for non-profit organizations was powerful and useful. I can see several ways we are going to be able to engage with SSU now and made a couple of key contacts." -Cynthia Calmenson, Executive Director for the Integrative Medical Clinic Foundation

The building of University and community partnerships of Sonoma County is what the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) strives for. Last fall semester, The CCE along with the the President's Diversity Council and the Senate Diversity Subcommittee hosted the annual Diversity and Community Engagement Mini-Conference in order to strengthen and build these bonds. The mini-conference is designed for non-profit and governmental organizations that specifically serve diverse populations and faculty who are or would like to collaborate with these organizations.

In the morning session for the community agencies, Merith Weisman focused in on how Sonoma State University faculty, interns and service-learners can align with each organization's mission and also gave a quick guide on exactly how to access the resources of SSU.

The morning session for the SSU faculty, staff, and students featured speakers Elisa Velasquez, Sheila Katz, Farid Faramand, and Paula Lane who each shared their experiences with service-learning, community based participatory research, and working with community organizations that work with diverse populations.

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SSU faculty and community partners discuss potential collaboration at the 2011 Diversity & Community Engagement: Mini-Conference. From Left:
Stephen Schoengarth, Verity; Precious Isom, PDI Surgery Center; Dr.
Elaine Wellin, Department of Sociology; Dr. Suzanne Rivoire; Department
of Computer Science

The informational morning sessions were followed by a lunch session where the community organizations and faculty got the chance for valuable networking facilitated by Gail Papworth and Ivonne Mejia. SSU faculty and community partners built connections and relationships while engaging in conversation about needs and assets of the SSU faculty and local non-profits. Karen Brodsky of the University Library stated, "I learned so much about what fabulous projects faculty at SSU are doing in their classes and hopefully had somegood ideas for community folks...Thanks so much for just a really great program."

Stay on the lookout for next year's mini-conference on Diversity and Community Engagement!

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