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by Brian Lynn ’98 trails of engagement When final exams wrap up at the end of winter quarter, students across the country often relieve stress and celebrate nicer weather with the college ritual of spring break – an adventure to an exotic beach or relaxing at home with friends and family. For 11 Eastern Washington University students, however, the 2013 spring break was spent swinging axes and heaving shovels of dirt in Moab, Utah. You might say students were digging in for a hard-labor lesson in leadership and community engagement. The trip was part of a collaborative pilot program between the Academic Success Center (ACS), EPIC Adventures and the Office of Community Engagement. It combined the intangibles of leadership and abstract ideals of community with the concrete resources and support that has become the hallmark of the university’s Academic Success Center. The underlying motive was to increase student retention by increasing the undergraduates’ connection to the larger community – both within EWU and to the surrounding world. Retention at any college largely depends on student success – in and outside of the classroom. Good grades, leadership skills and connection to a community all contribute to a student’s overall achievement and desire to 10 » E  NGAGE

Engage | 2013-14

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