By Grant Borneman
The Carolina Center for Public Service is proud to join Carolina Across 100, Innovate Carolina, UNC Rural, Carolina Engagement Council, ncIMPACT Initiative, Center for Health Equity Research and other partners in co-organizing Engagement Week 2023.
What is Carolina Engagement Week?
Carolina Engagement Week, which will take place on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, with some online opportunities, between Feb. 27-March 3, 2023, is a celebration of community-driven partnerships powered by state and local community leaders and Carolina faculty, staff and students. During Carolina Engagement Week 2023, you can explore the many ways Carolina is involved in engaged teaching, research and service.
Engagement Week illustrates the ways university resources and involvement with community-specific knowledge can provide a positive impact in communities across North Carolina. Last year, Engagement Week featured events with topics ranging from cancer care research to community-driven solutions for more equitable health outcomes and so much more. With the motto “from mountain to sea,” it is clear that engaged teaching, research and service at Carolina comes in a variety of forms.
Recapping Carolina Engagement Week 2022
With the challenges presented by the global COVID-19 pandemic, Carolina Engagement Week 2022 sought to shine a much-needed spotlight on the good that can happen when university and community partners come together to tackle the challenges of the day.
One event sought to do this through increasing voter participation. A local community organization, You Can Vote, held a training session through Engagement Week to teach participants how to register new voters.
“It was valuable to include that training within Engagement Week to emphasize that voter registration, voter education and voting are important ways that students, staff and faculty are participating in the life of our communities off-campus,” said Ryan Nilsen, a senior program officer at the Carolina Center for Public Service. Nilsen helped organize the event in partnership with You Can Vote.
The event took place just weeks before the Spring 2022 primary elections. “The timing was perfect for inviting participants to learn about how to register voters and engage their own communities more fully,” Nilsen said. “They were able to engage in our democracy through elections that don’t typically have as high participation.”
Some events engaged students in other ways. The Carolina Across 100 initiative hosted a Civic Hackathon, which was a competition involving the creation of data visualization and infographics. Jessica Dorrance, the Hackathon’s lead organizer, described it as “a useful way to get students engaged across campus and across local communities.”
The Hackathon challenged students to develop visualizations using data focused on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities across North Carolina. After the competition, Carolina Across 100 distributed the infographics to local community leaders as a resource to illustrate some of the issues facing North Carolina communities.
You Can Vote and the Civic Hackathon are just two of the many presentations and workshops that helped promote community engagement during Carolina Engagement Week 2022. With your participation as a presenter or a participant, Engagement Week 2023 will be even more successful and inspiring!
Apply to host an event during Carolina Engagement Week by Monday, November 21 to showcase ways you or your department or organization are contributing to community engagement. Submit a proposal on the Engagement Week website or apply directly here. We hope to see you there!
Need more time to propose your event? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.