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Center for Civic Engagement

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(February 9, 2017)—The Center for Civic Engagement hosted its 2nd annual Civic Engagement Summit “Building a Civic Infrastructure for a Changing Democracy” on February 9, 2017, on the Main Campus. Close to 300 attendees from UTSA and the San Antonio community enjoyed over thirteen workshops that focused on building one’s civic engagement skill set through education, innovation, new technologies, community organizing and leadership. Workshops were led by UTSA faculty, staff, students and community partners.

Participants engaged the opening panel in an energizing conversation that focused  on the various pillars of civic infrastructure in the city - education, public policy, non-profit leadership, corporate responsibility and community organizing. This panel included local civic leaders Marina Gavito, Luisa Casso, Andrea Figueroa, Diana Lopez and Denise Ojeda.

Featured keynote speaker Anthea Watson Strong, a Technologist with the Google Civic Innovation Team, presented empirical research about how to use technologies in order to activate individuals on the sidelines of issues during her presentation “Civic Tech for the Bystander.”

The summit wrapped up with a poster session displaying a total of 40 community engagement projects, which        showcased community-based research, service-learning projects, or programs led by students, student  organizations, faculty and/or staff members. District 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg attended this session to learn  about the student projects he helped fund through the COSA Grant Challenge, a program supported with his City  Council Project Funds.

“I'm inspired by the students I met last week who presented service learning projects funded by the grant program I developed with the UTSA Center for Civic Engagement," Councilman Nirenberg said. "Their projects focused on how to tackle an array of social challenges creatively, including one that taught elementary school students meditation and another that focused on how to improve pedestrian safety on the West Side. I was very impressed!”

Through this event the Center for Civic Engagement continues to foster and promote engaged scholarship at  UTSA. “The future of a strong civic infrastructure in San Antonio is reliant on an active citizenry that is prepared to  engage with a multitude of important community issues.” said Brian Halderman, LMSW, Director of the Center for  Civic Engagement. “This summit is not only about showcasing student learning and engagement, but more  importantly it is about challenging students, faculty and staff to reflect on their impact and efforts toward societal  change to advance the public good.”

--Carolina Canizales

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Learn more about the Center for Civic Engagement

Learn more abou the COSA Challenge Grant