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2019 Center For Civic Engagement Senior Award Recipients

We thank our students, faculty, staff and Community Partners for their continued dedication to the CCE and its mission

Sustaining Our Commitments in a Pandemic

Beginning in mid-March 2020, the CCE suspended community-based courses and most student-led activities in the Kalamazoo community.  Unable to work side by side with our local partners, we nevertheless committed to sustaining these important, reciprocal relationships, and we’ve found creative ways to support one another. 

We especially want to highlight our collaborations with the following partners:

CCE Spotlight on Farmworker Legal Services (FLS)

The CCE is proud to have worked this year with Farmworker Legal Services (FLS) to produce their annual calendar https://farmworkerlaw.org/farmworker-calendar, unveiled the week of April 26.  

Kathryn Lightcap, Kalamazoo College Graphics/Media Designer, designed the 2021 – 2022 calendar, a photographic celebration of farmworkers’ contributions to Michigan’s agricultural and economic vitality, as well as a source of  invaluable information for farmworkers, their families and their advocates. 

The calendar features beautiful photographs by Eric Bouwens and Miguel Torres and is a detailed guide, in Spanish and English, to legal, educational, social, and labor resources and rights.

The team who created this exceptional calendar are: 

Project Lead: Kara Moberg, Managing Attorney, FLS

Graphic Designer: Kathryn Lightcap,

Graphics/Media Designer, Kalamazoo CollegeTranslator and Editor : Hector Rubio, Legal Assistant, FLS

Translator and Editor: Daniel Flores, K ‘ 23, Center for Civic Engagement Intern with FLS

Liaison and Sometime Editor:  Alison Geist, Director, Center for Civic Engagement, Kalamazoo College 

Production:  Allison Zorbo, Project Manager, College Marketing and Communication, Kalamazoo College, who worked with Holland Litho, the College’s printer, on behalf of FLS.

Content: FLS and the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center Immigrant Worker Rights staff 

The CCE and FLS have worked together for about two decades in a multilayered partnership that includes service-learning courses, the summer Community Building Internship program, and shared participation in panel discussions and other collaborations around the state.

Many K students who’ve worked with FLS through CCE have been inspired by FLS’s staff and mission to pursue careers in the law, human and labor rights, public health and public policy, and food justice.  Work with FLS has also informed our development of the CCE’s Just Food Collective (a student-led program) and our proposed Pathway in Food and Farming Justice.

FLS has been a valued partner for over a decade in Instructor of Spanish Maria Jose Romero-Eshuis’ spring course, “Cultures of Health and Disease in Hispanic Communities,” and in Professor Amelia Katanski’s fall First Year Seminar, “Cultivating Community,” and spring “Reading the World” course, called a “A Seat in the Garden.” 

We look forward to working with FLS in these courses again soon.

CCE Spotlight on Voices: Awake! Arise!

The CCE is proud to co-sponsor this spring’s production and performance  of “Awake! Arise!,” described by Assistant Professor of Music Christopher Ludwa, who is one of its co-composers, as “a dramatic musical composition calling upon us to acknowledge injustice and work together to be the change we wish to see.”  Bach’s cantata “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme” (BWV 140) premiered in 1731 in Leipzig,  based on a tune written by Philipp Nicolai in the wake of the plague in the 16th century.  Awake! Arise! is a new arrangement of Bach’s cantata, sung in English, implementing the language of hope from great authors and activists of color. The choral piece features spoken word artists between movements, in the voices of Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, WEB DuBois, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Amanda Gorman, Valyn Turner and others who respond to these hymns and songs in a dialogue about the lived black experience.

The world premiere of Awake! Arise! in March 2021 featured a 17-piece orchestra comprised of musicians of color from the United States and the United Kingdom, a diverse body of 20 singers and 3 internationally acclaimed soloists against the backdrop of the Lincoln Memorial and a multimedia display of visual artists of color. 

As a co-sponsor, the CCE supported the performances of local artists, whose livelihoods the pandemic has curtailed.

Welcome to the Mary Jane Underwood Stryker Center for Civic Engagement (CCE)

Affirming the central goals of the College, the CCE engages students, faculty, and community members in sustained partnerships that foster collaborative learning and civic participation in a diverse, democratic society. By forging a link between critical civic engagement and learning, the CCE works to strengthen the community, invigorate the educational experience, and promote a more just, equitable & sustainable world.

A Statement on Freedom and Justice from Imagining America

At Imagining America, we share the sense of relief and grief that many of you are feeling as we hold George Floyd’s family in our hearts. We also know that the jury verdict announced today is of accountability for George Floyd’s murder, and not justice. Centuries of white supremacy and structural racism are not remedied by the conviction of one individual, but through collective, sustained efforts to abolish the systems, institutions, cultures, and narratives that permit the dehumanization of any community or individual. As publicly engaged artists and scholars, we are called to service, working to dismantle oppression and to inspire and offer visions of communities built on foundations of liberation, compassion, and care.

We exhale today. We hold space for each other to process this moment. And we continue down the long road towards freedom and justice. https://imaginingamerica.org/

CCE Spotlight on Building Blocks (BBs)

Nonprofit Building Blocks Revitalizes Kalamazoo Neighborhoods

Katie McPherson ’08 is continuing the Building Blocks mission launched by K Professor Emeritus Kim Cummings of empowering communities one block at a time. Building Blocks of Kalamazoo and the Center for Civic Engagement heard local leaders talk about building community and revitalizing their neighborhoods at the Community Leaders Panel on May 5th, 2021 in Dalton Theatre.

There is still time to be part of Building Blocks work days! Great bonds are forged and terrific meals are provided. K students can also meet incredible resident leaders and assist in creating positive change in the Kalamazoo community during the Building Blocks work days on May 8th & 9th and/or May 15th & 16th. Building Blocks is a local non-profit organization that works to empower residents to work collectively on neighborhood enhancement projects on their block to build community and cooperation between neighbors.  If you would like to be part of this amazing opportunity, please complete the Building Blocks Volunteer Application.

CCE Spotlight on Community Building Internships (CBIs)

The CCE is delighted to have 25 interns working in 23 different organizations throughout the Kalamazoo Community for Summer 2021. When COVID-19 struck in March 2020, nearly all of our Community Partners were able to switch to a virtual or partially virtual platform within social distancing guidelines so that these internships, vital to both community and students, were able to continue. The final projects presented by the students were a thoughtful reflection on how much these internships mean to the college, the students and the community. You can see them here: https://web.microsoftstream.com/video/88936a57-1184-43cb-98ca-cc22ec834757

We are grateful to those community partners, students, donors, CCPD and CCE staff that weathered the storm and continue to provide meaningful opportunities for our K students, in partnerships with the CCE, to pursue the important work necessary in our community towards food justice, educational equity and social renewal. We look forward to our CBI Summer 2021.

Get Involved

About two-thirds of Kalamazoo College students work in the community every year, through community-based courses and in 
Community-Based Student Led programs. Students who are Federal Work Study Eligible can be paid to work in selected programs!

Introduction to the Center for Civic Engagement (CCE). Learn more about each opportunity in our “Opportunities” tab.

Have additional questions? Curious about something not covered on the webpage?
If so, feel free to contact Moises.Hernandez@kzoo.edu, Assistant Director at the CCE.