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Center for Social Concerns


 

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Local Community Connections

A vital part of the Center for Social Concerns (CSC) is collaboration within the South Bend area. This occurs in many ways.

The CSC maintains relationships with approximately 50 local organizations, and has formalized relationships with eight to ten community organizations, which are called Community-Based Learning Coordinators (CBLC) agencies. The Center was influential in the creation of the Robinson Community Learning Center (RCLC) in 2001 in the northeast neighborhood of South Bend, just south of the campus.

The Center also participates in a number of local coalitions, including The St. Joe Valley Project, Bridges Out of Poverty, and 4 Community. Some of these involvements center on area community and economic development and on labor and work issues. Occasionally the Center initiates and nurtures a coalition developing to address a social challenge. For example, it was the initiator of The Lead Alliance. Center staff members also work closely in various capacities with area faith communities.

When Notre Dame undergraduates enroll in community-based learning courses, the Center often facilitates their placements with area organizations where their contributions are requested. Increasingly, the CSC also assists local organizations that have research needs to connect with students, graduate students, and faculty who are interested in community-based research opportunities.

The Center helps students, faculty, and other University constituents find non-curricular service, advocacy, community organizing, and other means of becoming engaged locally in addressing social concerns. Also, staff of the Center are involved personally in their own forms of civic participation, some of which cross over into their professional lives. For example, staff members are present on the boards of local organizations, such as the RCLC, the Near Northwest Neighborhood Association, and the Northeast Neighborhood Council.

The Center has a strong Justice Education focus which initiates and functions collaboratively with departments of the University, local organizations and faith communities to provide the campus and local area with speakers, debates and other avenues for exploring current social issues.

The CSC identifies and provides various forms of support for representatives from each residence hall. These social concerns commissioners facilitate community engagement and education about social concerns.  In addition, the Center offers space and other forms of support for about 35 student service and social action groups involved in service, advocacy, and education related to social concerns locally.

The Center is a member of Indiana Campus Compact and offers a link here to this organization and its Speakers Bureau.

It facilitates transportation to community engagement sites locally. Also, see on this site a regularly updated listing of current volunteer needs in the area.     

 

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