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Community Consulting Board increases partnership opportunities

Members of the Community Consulting Board pose for a group photo

Inaugural members of the Community Consulting Board pose for a group photo following their first meeting.

The Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning recently established the Community Consulting Board (CCB) to help strengthen partnerships between Illinois State University and organizations within the community. Board members will serve in advisory roles for the center as it looks to enhance the University’s service learning practices.

Harriett Steinbach, assistant director of service learning for the center, discussed the importance of the work the CCB will do over the next few years. “We’re building as a center, and we needed individuals within the community to really advise us—some dedicated folks to provide us with that community perspective on what we’re trying to do and where we’re going.”

Community Consulting Board members sit around a large table during their first meeting

Community Consulting Board members meet for the first time at the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning.

CCB members will each serve two-year terms on the board, and the group will meet officially three times a year, with other communications as necessary. The next CCB meeting will take place in October. It will be a joint meeting with the Illinois State task force working on the University’s application for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning’s Elective Community Engagement Classification.

During this meeting, CCB members will be consulted about their past and current partnerships with the University and potential growth of new or improved reciprocal and mutually beneficial partnerships to better understand and collaboratively address issues within the community.

Steinbach said the board will also help build awareness within the community of the efforts Illinois State University and the center are making to strengthen relationships with organizations in the area: “Community Consulting Board members will be able to take information back to their organizations about what ISU is doing to advance partnerships within the community. We’ll also be offering members insight into processes within higher education (data collection, the work of faculty, etc.) that might be beneficial to their organizations.”

Board members are looking forward to the collaboration. “Home Sweet Home Ministries (HSHM) and ISU have a long-standing collaborative relationship with students from multiple disciplines, departments, and organizations involved in the programs and services we offer,” said Matt Burgess, chief operating officer at HSHM. “The CCB provides a great opportunity for HSHM to build on this already strong relationship and is an example of our organization’s priority on bringing different parts of the community together in meaningful ways.”

Alicia Lenard, development director for YouthBuild McLean County, is also excited about participating on the CCB. “I wanted YouthBuild McLean County to be involved in this initiative because our organization and program youth are dedicated to doing meaningful service. I also believe that expanding our partnerships through ISU can provide more exposure for YouthBuild and the services we provide to the community as well as offering additional meaningful service opportunities for ISU students.”

Inaugural members of the Community Consulting Board