SEARCY, Ark. – Harding University announced the establishment of the Office of Community Connection as part of its efforts to strengthen ties with and serve the citizens of White County and the surrounding area. The Office of Community Connection is made up of three parts: the Wayne and Alice Ann Kellar Center for Community Engagement, the Community Collaboration Hub and the Center for Social Impact Leadership.
Each component of the organization is focused on serving through a variety of offerings and facilities to help equip residents in White County with tools and resources to strengthen the community and meet various individual needs.
“When we were discussing the idea behind the Office of Community Connection, we asked the question, ‘What does it look like for us [faculty, staff, students, alumni] to lean into the challenges around us, to step across Main Street and get involved in the community?’” said Andrew Baker, assistant to the Provost for Community Connection and executive director of the Office of Social Impact Leadership.
Each part of the Office of Community Connection serves a different function for the community. The Wayne and Alice Ann Kellar Center for Community Engagement will open in Spring 2020 and will offer tutoring, parenting courses, English classes, and other various life skill classes.
“Harding continually seeks ways to utilize the collective strengths and resources of the University as a means to share with and give back to the community. We strive to do this in a way that both helps neighbors and engages the passion and talents of its people,” said Jana Rucker, vice president for university communications and enrollment.
The Community Collaboration Hub, now open and located at 109 Center St., provides a space for businesses, organizations, and residents of White County to conduct meetings or events. The space is designed to accommodate up to 30 people. To book a meeting, visit harding.edu/communityconnection/community-collaboration-hub.
The Center for Social Impact Leadership will be an academic unit and will function in collaboration with each of the colleges of the University, to offer courses and resources in social impact leadership and community engagement. The program is designed to provide an educational path and training for anyone who wants to positively impact their community — educators, ministers, social services workers, business professionals, and others.
The effort is fundamental to the University’s mission. “During a recent presentation, University President Bruce McLarty said, ‘We never get to choose our neighbors, we just get to choose if we will be one.’ We hope our efforts in Community Connection will help us live out what it means to be a neighbor,” said Baker. “The goal of these services and programs is simple. We want to be good neighbors by listening, learning and loving. So we may succeed together for the greater good.”
For more information about the Office of Community Connection, visit https://www.harding.edu/communityconnection