Fund for Positive Engagement Award Recipients

Campus Compact has announced 40 college and university recipients of grants to bring people together across lines of difference from its Fund for Positive Engagement, including WiCC members St. Norbert College, Western Technical College and UW­Eau Claire.

The Fund for Positive Engagement is a direct response by Campus Compact to the divisive and destructive climate in the United States that took shape during the 2016 campaign and has continued in its aftermath. The purpose of the Fund is to catalyze experiments in bridging divisions among people and groups in communities across the country. “We wanted to create an incentive for colleges and universities to come up with creative responses to the challenges they are seeing,” said Andrew Seligsohn, president of Campus Compact. “We have been hearing from our member colleges and universities that students and community members cannot hold conversations with people with differing political views. Immigrant and Muslim students are afraid to express their views. Many community members see universities as completely separate universes with different values. We invited our members to propose steps to break through those divides, and we are excited by the proposals that came back.”

The selection process was highly competitive as Campus Compact received nearly 300 submissions from institutions across the country. Two thirds of the reviewers were students in Campus Compact’s Newman Civic Fellows program. Proposals were judged based on the strength of the idea, its practicality, and the degree to which it will be possible to measure success, among other criteria. “With the support of Campus Compact, we are able to develop efforts aimed at creating spaces for genuine dialogue that focuses on listening and learning as acts of love,” said Jaime Gonzalez, Assistant Director of the Cassandra Voss Center at St. Norbert College in De Pere, WI. “By using stories as means to witness the humanity in all persons, we hope to launch initiatives that will aid our campus and the larger community in embracing dialogue across difference in often very divisive contexts.”