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Autozone Center for Community Engagement

Leslie McAbee and Sarah Petschonek

In the photo: Autozone Center for Community Engagement Director Leslie McAbee (left) receives an award from Sarah Petschonek, founder and CEO of Volunteer Odyssey. The award recognizes the Center's involvement with Volunteer Odyssey's Year to Volunteer and the Center's mission of serving Memphis.

Innovation and Collaboration Between CBU and Memphis

Growing out of CBU’s Lasallian commitment to community and service, the AutoZone Center for Community Engagement (ACCE) collaborates with communities on and off campus to enhance learning, enrich student life, and promote positive social change in Memphis and beyond. The Center supports programs that respond to defined community goals and social challenges, connecting the knowledge and enthusiasm of both CBU and community partners.

The Center’s founding comes at a pivotal time for community engagement in higher education. Decades of research tells us that fostering community relationships enhances learning and personal growth for all involved. This, in turn, promotes more effective service. The Center advances these principles by working closely with the Memphis community on complex issues that call for collective problem-solving.

Center initiatives will include:

  • Partnerships among community agencies and CBU
  • An advisory board that will help advance and shape programming
  • A service-focused living learning community
  • Alternative break immersion experiences 
  • Study abroad opportunities that include community engagement components
  • Public colloquia and informal lunches focusing on community development and awareness of social challenges
  • An Engaged Scholars certificate program
  • Community-engaged learning course development awards and support for faculty teaching community-based courses
  • Facilitation of community-based student capstone projects or research
  • A physical library and a digital hub of community-engaged learning resources, including a directory of past and ongoing university partnerships

Center Objectives

  1. Support the development of community-based or community-engaged learning pedagogies by providing resources, learning opportunities, and trainings, and by facilitating connections with community partners.
  2. Build a wide but intimate network of community partners and center them as stakeholders in the Center.
  3. Encourage conversation and awareness about and plans of action for issues of social justice and systemic inequality.
  4. Found an Engaged Scholars certificate program through which students distinguish themselves through service and community-engaged projects.
  5. Collaborate with CBU’s Center for Entrepreneurship + Innovation to support student and faculty social entrepreneurship. This form of innovative community engagement includes start-up business ventures and applied research that address community needs.
  6. Recognize and highlight the accomplishments of CBU students, faculty, and staff for their community engagement work and that of community partners. Award ceremonies; presentations of student, faculty, and partners’ community-engaged work; and kick-off and closing events for major initiatives will exemplify the culture of community engagement that CBU values.
  7. Work with student organizations and campus departments to collect data on community engagement projects.
  8. Run CBU’s September of Service program, an initiative that gives the CBU community an opportunity to volunteer each day during the month of September.

Contact

Dr. Leslie McAbee
lmcabee@cbu.edu
(901) 321-3537