Morrow, GA—Perhaps Benjamin Franklin said it best: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” Well, both students at Clayton State University and members of the surrounding counties are definitely benefitting from an organization at the school with a similar creed.
Friday, October 2, about 60 organizations were in attendance at Clayton State’s “Community Partner Networking Event”held for its Partnering Academics and Community Engagement (PACE) organization. PACE focuses on student engagement through community projects that enhance learning.
“PACE is a powerful learning device for our students. There’s a great deal of evidence indicating that active learning tends to create conditions in which learning is maintained. Our students can then benefit mightily the communities we serve,” said Clayton State University President Dr. Tim Hynes.
Projects with PACE partners are tied specifically to course requirements and learning objectives while serving the purpose of helping the surrounding area. This past spring, PACE students from Dr. Jennifer Parrott’s English 1102 class participated in a project with Noah’s Ark animal sanctuary in Locust Grove, GA. During the assignment, they broke up into small groups and focused on gathering research to generate promotional materials to raise awareness and garner donations for the sanctuary. Each group then pitched their material to the staff at Noah’s Ark for a chance to be used as part of its marketing strategy.
“Working together with our partners, this collection of communities becomes a site for continuous learning for our students, and then for our graduates, and many generations of students and graduates to come,” said Dr. Hynes.
Friday’s networking fair began with breakfast and presentations by PACE faculty, students, and partners before community partners broke off into smaller groups for discussions on turning objectives into actions. Afterwards, a networking fair was held where students and community partners were given an opportunity to speak with leaders in education, county, and non-profit organizations, as well as learn more about possible internships and the needs of Clayton State’s PACE partners.
“Today’s event is going to give us more intel on how we can match the projects for the PACE classes more directly with the needs of the community. The big takeaway is that it will make the classes more authentic in what we need in our surrounding communities. This also gives students an opportunity to meet people they may not otherwise have the opportunity to engage with,” said PACE Director, Dr. Antoinette Miller.
Some of the organizations in attendance at the PACE Network Fair included: Clayton County Board of Health, Atlanta Community Food Bank, Southern Crescent Habitat for Humanity, and Junior Achievement of Georgia, just to name a few.