By Stephen Wilson

How do we make the community as strong as possible? This is the question that steers Chelsea Morrese as she steps into the driver’s seat at Landis Center for Community Engagement.

Chelsea Morrose smiles

Chelsea Morrese

The newly appointed director has worked at the center for the last five years and has built a foundation there with past director Art Kney, professor of civil engineering, who returns to teaching and research.

“Lafayette and Easton are the same community, not separate,” she says. “The College is filled with resources, so it is important to share them for our mutual benefit.”

Morrese has worked from the onset toward building mutual benefits when she joined Landis. It came at a critical juncture when two programs merged into one—Landis Center for Community Outreach and Community-Based Learning and Research.

The new Landis Center for Community Engagement found its focus in three key areas: faculty-led scholarship, civic leadership, and volunteerism. Today those areas are supported by key programs and events that combine education, activation, and reflection. Most people are familiar with Holiday Helper, America Reads, and Connected Classrooms.

“Each program serves several purposes,” Morrese says. “Students assist the community with immediate needs, learn about systemic problems, work to understand and dismantle those problems, and build bridges with community members. All along they become active citizens in the community they call home for four years.”

It is that last part that the center’s staff hopes remains well past the students’ time at Lafayette.

“We want them to have the efficacy to create change in any community,” she says.

Her goals for the center range from incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion training into all programs, developing shared community engagement guidelines for volunteer programs across campus, and adding curriculum components and experiential learning to academics.

All the while, Morrese is working on her master’s of information in data science, which would sit alongside her master’s in education.

“I’m hoping we can be strong and coordinated in order to maximize our impact across our shared community,” she says.

Community Engagement

Landis Center

The Landis Center for Community Engagement coordinates a team of student civic leaders who coordinate weekly, immersive, and one-time volunteer programs and opportunities in the local, regional, and global community.

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Categorized in: Community, Community-Based Learning and Research, Featured News, Landis Center, News and Features