Community Engagement Week for Samford students last week from April 16-20. Partners Acting in the Community Today organized the event.
The PACT organization’s goal for the week was to show how students could be regularly involved in community engagement. The Mann Center also hosted Samford Gives Back with over 700 students serving in the Birmingham community on April 14.
Casey Cunningham, the president of PACT, said she is passionate about the work that PACT does to encourage Samford students to find opportunities to be more involved in the community around them.
“My passion is community engagement and my goal is to help promote a culture at Samford in which all students know about the issues that exist in our community and find ways to get involved in service work in the greater Birmingham area.” said Cunningham.
The events this week were led by PACT student leaders. The events included a viewing of the Netflix documentary “13th” with student reflection talks after and a Poverty Simulation in Seibert Gym with the partnership of Alabama Possible.
There was the annual Mann Center Partnership banquet with speaker Chris Nanni of the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, a “Pizza and Partners” in Harry’s Coffeehouse with four community partners.
On Friday, PACT hosted a membership drive in Ben Brown with free Steel City Pops to share with students about PACT and welcome new members.
Cunningham was in charge of the creation and development of Community Engagement Week and said she is proud of the success they had this year.
“PACT wants to change the culture of Samford’s campus to one in which all students are excited about leaving the Samford bubble, meeting and building relationships with people in the community who are different from them, and working consistently with partner organizations in Birmingham,” said Cunningham. “I’m excited that more students know about PACT and want to get involved with partnerships in Birmingham nonprofits.”
PACT member Emily Jenkins reflected on the importance of the week and the impact it made.
“My favorite event of the week was our showing of the documentary ‘13th’,” said Jenkins. “It was a fascinating way to understand racial disparities in the justice system that our Birmingham community faces.”
Samford’s International Justice Mission chapter participated this week with a fundraiser on Monday evening at Chipotle, where over $800 was raised in four hours.
IJM president Janie Foncea was ecstatic that the fundraiser helped to create awareness of human trafficking.
“It plays such a significant role in our chapter because raising money for IJM is an integral part in the fight to free more than 40 million individuals currently enslaved around the world,” said Foncea.
For those who wish to get more involved in community engagement, the offices for The Mann Center are in Brooks 227.
Clare Weigel, Features Writer