Graduate Project

 

Defining Community: The Impact of OSU Student Civic Engagement in Corvallis, Oregon Public Deposited

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https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_projects/xp68kh99q

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  • This study explores the context of and impacts resulting from a broad range of university student civic engagements on the city of Corvallis, Oregon. Through semi-structured interviews with local community partners who engage with the university in what I term student civic service-learning, feedback reveals impacts that are overwhelmingly positive, with community partners lauding students as contributors to organizational development, community capacity, and social justice. In contrast with existing literature, partners reveal the necessity for a diverse range of service levels and types, including one-time and short-term service. Further analysis reveals a fragile network of service professionals, at a stalemate in growth within this community that is immensely impacted by student service. Often bypassing the network’s largest service hub, many partners are limited in their connectivity within the network and thus find their contact with students and faculty inconsistent and inefficient. As university student populations are expected to continue growing, findings suggest that more of the same is not necessarily better, yet the service provided by students currently is vital to maintaining the quality of life for the local community. By assessing the impacts of service on the greater community and how they are situated in a service network, this research furthers our understanding of how this community comes to be defined and shaped by its relationship with its university.
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