Nadinne Cruz, one of the founders of the service-learning movement at universities and communities across the nation, will share her thoughts and experiences on creating a better world at a March 2-4 conference hosted by Virginia Tech.

Cruz, former director of the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford, has been a practitioner, leader, and advocate of civic engagement for more than 25 years. She is co-author of the book Service-Learning: A Movement’s Pioneers Reflect on Its Origins, Practice, and Future

The ninth annual Gulf-South Summit, Civic Engagement for Changing Communities, is slated to draw more than 400 faculty, students, and community partners from higher education institutions throughout the Gulf South regions. This year’s summit will be held the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center and includes more than 76 concurrent sessions, panels, presentations, awards, and posters on critical issues and best practices in the field.

Service-learning has been one of the most critical venues for engaging college students in their communities since the early 1990s. The movement was a strategy to integrate meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich learning, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.

According to Michele James-Deramo, director of service-learning at Virginia Tech and chair of this year’s conference, “Service-learning has emerged as a vital expression of Virginia Tech’s land grant tradition and its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve). Similarly, colleges and universities throughout the commonwealth have incorporated the concept into their core teaching and learning missions. We are pleased to welcome colleagues across the Gulf South and beyond to Virginia to network and exchange ideas.”

Other plenary speakers at the March conference include Talmadge Stanley of Emory & Henry College, and Dan Van Lehman and Omar Eno of the Somali Bantu Project at Portland State University.

For more information, visit the website or contact Michele James-Deramo at (540) 231-6947.

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