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University to hold university-community partnership conference


BLACKSBURG, Va., July 9, 2007 – Community leaders, administrators, non-profit organization leaders, graduate students, local government officials, and college and university faculty are invited to attend Virginia Tech’s "The Community Calls Forth the University, the Fourth Annual University-Community Partnership Conference."

The three-day event hosted by Virginia Tech’s Service-Learning Center will be held from Wednesday to Friday, July 18-20, at the Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center on Virginia Tech's campus.

The university-community partnership conference will feature interactive workshops, case studies, and presentations that examine important issues and challenges facing cooperative endeavors between communities or community organizations and colleges or universities. By emphasizing strategic partnership goals based on mutual respect and shared risk, the conference’s learning sessions will promote positive social transformations.

Keynote speaker, Alice Lovelace, a performance poet, playwright, essayist, arts-in-education specialist, and community consultant, holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Antioch University. She has worked with Alternate ROOTS and Arts Extension Services at the University of Massachusetts to design and teach an “Arts for Social Change” curriculum for artists, arts administrators, and social service organizations. She helped to found the Atlanta Partnership for Arts in Learning, Inc. and was Executive Director from 2000-2004. A specialist in arts infusion and arts integration across the curriculum, Lovelace is also the senior consultant for MoDaSo Consultants and coeditor of "Art Changes" at In Motion Magazine, an on-line publication devoted to issues of democracy. She is also currently the 2007 U.S. Social Forum National Organizer.

She will speak at 1 p.m. Wednesday, July 18 and will address the theme of the community calling forth the university from the perspective of her own lifetime experiences. Lovelace's presentation will be followed by facilitated discussion through story circles designed to draw forth participants' stories, memories, and reflections on the meaning of authentic engagement.

An internationally respected speaker, author and pioneer in service-learning, Nadinne Cruz will be the plenary speaker at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 19. She will address the topic, “Listening and Learning from Community Voices.”

For more than two decades, Cruz has advanced service-learning nationally and internationally. She is former Lang Professor of Social Change at Swarthmore College, where she piloted service-learning courses. In the 1980s and early 90s she served as executive director of the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs in St. Paul, Minn., and from 1994-2003 served first as associate director and then director of the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford University. Under Cruz’ guidance, the Haas Center developed model service programs that are replicated on other campuses.

Registration is still open by calling Virginia Tech’s Continuing and Professional Education at (540) 231-5182 or by printing out the registration form online. The registration fee of $249 includes two receptions, break service each day, the poster exhibit, community showcase, and program materials. Two or more persons from the same organization may register for the entire program at the discounted rate of $199 per person. The one-day registration fee is $125 per person.

For conference information, contact Michele James-Deramo at (540) 231-6947.

To make hotel reservations, call (540) 231-8000 or toll-free, (877) 200-3360 and mention the conference to receive the special group rate.