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  Civic Engagement: A Call to Action

In “The American Prospect,” Robert Putnam writes, “Americans who came of age during the Depression and World War II have been far more deeply engaged in the life of their communities than the generations that followed them.”

Them’s fightin’ words to Colorado College alumni of all ages who have participated in the college’s long, broad, and deep tradition of civic engagement, which has grown steadily more ingrained since the 1990s when Paul Kuerbis, director of Colket Student Learning Center and Crown Faculty Center, and Gay Victoria, then director of CC’s Center for Community Service, began exploring the intersections between volunteerism and student life.

Defined as connection to the life of one’s community in many arenas, from politics to protest and from philanthropy to advocacy, civic engagement is an integral part of the CC experience. Twice as many CC students as the national average participate in volunteer work. Many participate in fellowships or community-based learning, which combines academics and service to enrich both experiences. And many alumni go on to careers in nonprofit management. This Bulletin tells a few of their stories — in the features that follow and in TigerWire alumni profiles.

As Kuerbis says, “Liberal arts must be reinvented for the modern world. We should call upon students to reflect on the liberal arts and apply them while in college.” Current CC students take both academic and hands-on interest in the world around them, continuing to heed that call to action.

Pictured above: Jeff Lyon ’08 volunteers at the soup kitchen and is a member of the honors organization Alpha Lambda Delta. Heather Manley ’08 (also our cover model) is a sociology major who works in the DIALogue Center. Last year, she volunteered at a daycare for underprivileged children, and she plans to be in Quito, Ecuador, next spring to volunteer for a human needs organization. Renise Walker ’06 lives in the Glass House and is involved in the Black Student Union; Diversity Task Force; Minority Concerns Committee; and Mind, Body, and Soul. She is also an Admission Fellow and was honored in 2004-2005 as a Dreamkeeper and as CCCA’s Most Involved Student of the Year.

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