The Office of Community Engagement
The Office of Community Engagement received the Arts Ovation Award from the City of Allentown in 2015!
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Community Partner & Muhlenberg Staff Recognized for Narratives of Change in 2016
Chaplain Callista Isabelle has worked over the past few years to bring interfaith conversations to Muhlenberg and the entire region. Callista seeks to challenge all of us to consider the lenses through which we view the world and the similarities and differences between our faiths and spiritual practices (or lack thereof). In a culture that seems to encourage entrenchment and retreat into our own religious identities, Callista has moved us toward progress and understanding. She has worked with students for the past three years to plan interfaith weeks on campus. Pieces of these weeks involved connecting with communities and talking about how faith plays a role in making our communities stronger. She organized with colleagues a Valley-wide interfaith conference for students this year where one student participant said: “It was beautiful to hear other individuals at the conference talk about their beliefs with such passion. It was also nice that so many different backgrounds came together in a world that seems bent on blaming religion for its problems. The community of Lehigh Valley schools ended up creating something beautiful in the name of religion, which is rarely seen at all today.” Callista has encouraged the various religious life communities across Muhlenberg’s campus to become engaged off campus with activities that would be of use to local communities. She has also co-lead the connect with communities pre-orientation program for the past 4 years immersing first-year students into our local communities. This experience has changed the perceptions of first-year students about Allentown, created small changes within local communities and become a springboard for many students to involve themselves in future community work. The narratives of change she has created with others are far and wide.
Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center is new on the scene this year and already making waves. Though the physical space took awhile, they’ve been doing the work for a long time. In their short physical existence, the Center has involved students from all places on campus in the work to prepare to open. Fraternities, Muhlenberg Trans Advocacy Coalition, international students, employees and student interns have all been involved in the process and also learned about their inclusive approach to community change. The Center espouses a true desire for the space to be seen as open to all communities. They respect and appreciate the diverse perspectives and stories within the LGBTQIA+ communities and the power that bringing people together can have. We are excited to see the change that students engaged in the work at Bradbury-Sullivan are already bring back to campus, and look forward to continued engagement.
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has acknowledged Muhlenberg College’s numerous community engagement endeavors by approving the College for its 2010 Community Engagement Classification. ‘Berg is one of 115 schools given the distinction this year, joining 196 other campuses awarded the classification in 2006 and 2008.