Center for Community Engagement keeps building on 15-plus years of ‘being a bridge’ between YCP, community

By Ulices Samaniego

THE Center for Community Engagement (CCE) helps promote York College’s positive relationship with the City of York and surrounding area.

By developing different programs and events, the CCE connects York College students, faculty, and academic resources organizations with local businesses, and initiatives to address the needs in the York community.

“Our goal is being a bridge between the College and the local community,” Cody Miller, Director of Service Initiatives at the CCE, said recently.

To give a bit of background the Center of Community Engagement was started more than 15 years ago. The CCE was started as a first initiative to improve town-gown relationships with an emphasis on the environs surrounding York College’s main campus on Country Club Road.  

From 2010-2015, under then Dean of Academic Affairs Dominic DelliCarpini, the CCE started to expand its work with York City. With the arrival of Dr. Gunter-Smith, this work was given further priority, and she appointed DelliCarpini as the first dean of the CCE in 2015.

The Stauffers Mural Project, in which York College students helped Stauffer’s Biscuit Company, the York-based baker of the Original Animal Cracker, celebrate its 150th anniversary by refreshing the look of its Cookie & Snack Outlet. (Photo from Center for Community Engagement)

Since then, the CCE has expanded its reach and mission. The CCE doesn’t just have one focus. Some of its main programs include the Changemakers, Arthur J. Glatfelter Institute for Public Policy, Institute for Social Healing, Appell Arts Fellowship, community-based learning, Engaged Scholars and the Graham Collaborative Innovation Fellows.

The CCE specifically involves York College students into the following community work:

  • Creating initiatives through the Graham Collaborative Innovation Fellows, Engaged Scholars Honors Community and the Changemakers community. Incoming first-year students can apply for the scholarship programs. Once a student is accepted into a scholarship program, he or she receives access to a number of unique benefits.
  • Facilitating community- and project-based learning. The CCE helps connect faculty members with community partners so that they can incorporate community-based learning into their courses.
  • Providing studio space and work study opportunities at Marketview Arts. Upperclassmen Fine Art majors can have their own studio space at the Marketview Arts building to hone their craft.
  • Employing a Scholar-in-Residence (student in the MPPA program) and other students in the history and political science program and related fields to assist with the research of the Arthur J. Glatfelter Institute for Public Policy.This provides the students with hands-on experience that helps prepare them for graduate studies and/or their future career.

The CCE has had a direct impact on the York City community, hosting more than 100 events since 2016. It has also renovated two downtown buildings and hosted more than 80 art exhibitions featuring the work of local artists as well as nationally and internationally known artists.

A Spartan Serve activity through CCE. (Photo from Center for Community Engagement).

from Center for Community Engagement).

Eyre said the CCE “provides a variety of spaces for York College classes, meetings, and art exhibitions, and partners with local organizations to host community events in both downtown venues. [It] is known in York for supporting efforts to enhance the quality of life in the city and surrounding area, and for facilitating community-based learning experiences by connecting faculty and students with local organizations to work on projects serving the community.”

Moving forward, the CCE will be involved-particularly through the work of the Engaged Scholars-with the Graham Center for Collaborative Innovation, which aims to foster connections between the different schools and departments at York College, and between the College and local businesses and organizations.

In addition, Eyre said, “We are also working on refreshing the look of the Marketview Arts building, York College’s downtown arts hub, and we plan to renovate the third floor of the CCE building, which will provide additional space for offices and community meetings.”

Ulices Samaniego is a senior majoring in integrated marketing communications.

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