Sam Miglarese, Director of Community Engagement for Duke’s Office of Durham and Regional Affairs, served as a member of the Planning Team for the North Carolina Campus Compact 2014 Civic Engagement Institute, held at UNC Wilmington on February 4. After the conference, he shared some reflections:
Our campuses all want to be “engaged” within the community. We in higher education are stewards of a learning tradition that hands on to the next generation the accrued wisdom of ages past, but we must apply that knowledge in the service of humanity and society.
This meeting focused on the relationship between economic development and and community development initiatives. Last year I co-directed DukeEngage Durham sister cities – North Carolina and North East England. That experience helped me to understand the interrelationship between community development and economic development: you cannot engage the community on economic and commercial development and workforce issues without also creating credibility with a commitment to community development. This includes housing, health care, youth, education, crime, and safety.
Economic and political leaders from across the state are gathered in our assembly to inform and challenge campus leaders on how we could be even more effective as important partners in building our communities to be safe, secure, and healthy – places of hope where our children learn, where home ownership is encouraged, and that inspires an entrepreneurial spirit and a strong work ethic.