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USF President Leads Community and Service-Learning Coalition

07-28-2010
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University of San Francisco President Stephen A. Privett, S.J. is the new chairman of the California Campus Compact, a coalition of leading colleges and universities that works to advance civic and community engagement for a healthy, just, and democratic society.

As chair Fr. Privett, who has served on the executive board for two years, hopes to continue a trend of more colleges and universities integrating service-learning and community engagement into their core curriculum, rather than treating it as an elective or “add-on.”

“Students need to understand what the world looks like from the perspective of the people for whom the world does not work well,” Fr. Privett said. “We’re never going to solve the problems if we’re not aware of the problems – the widening gap between rich and poor, the wide disparity of lifestyles between Southern Africa and San Francisco.”

He sees universities, increasingly, as places where people teach, learn, and do research on how to address the world’s problems, from poverty and human trafficking to the need for socially responsible businesses.

While intent on sharing USF’s approach to incorporating service-learning as part of each undergraduate students’ education with other Campus Compact member schools, he also expects to discover effective and exciting programs developed by other schools that might be replicated or re-imagined at USF.

“Overall, I think that the colleges and universities that are members of California Campus Compact have the opportunity to offer an educational model that rewrites the script for higher education so that academic rigor, social responsibility, and human development are not viewed as competing claims, but as the complementary components of an excellent education that makes a unique contribution to fashioning a more humane and just world for all,” Fr. Privett said.

Written by Edward Carpenter »usfnews@usfca.edu