MEET MOLLY AYERS Director of the Office of Community Engagement
Eastern Washington University’s commitment to the community took on new meaning in 2012 when it opened the Office of Community Engagement. Its goal is to connect the campus to the wider community through meaningful, reciprocal partnerships in order to enrich student learning, address critical community needs and foster a culture of civic responsibility and community engagement. Under the direction of Molly Ayers, who came to Eastern in fall 2012 from Gonzaga University where she was assistant director of the Center for Community Action & Service Learning, EWU is widening its
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by David Meany
impact in the community. Ayers was first introduced to community-based education when she served as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, coordinating servicelearning projects at a Title 1 middle school in Seattle. Ayers viewed the Eastern job as a chance to make a difference. “I was drawn to the position because of the opportunity to build a program that expands transformative learning opportunities for students at EWU while meeting critical needs in our community,” said Ayers. “I focused my energy this past year on grant writing, building infrastructure and learning about the EWU community and its many engagement efforts,” said Ayers. “I am continually impressed by the level of innovation and the sophistication of community-based projects occurring across the colleges and in student affairs. The EWU community truly lives up to the challenge to start something big.” One of our big initiatives is the Eagle Volunteers Program. The Eagle Volunteers Program provides opportunities for EWU students to participate in one-time or ongoing service projects where student leaders will be placed within local non-profit agencies to recruit, train and reflect with student volunteers. The Eagle Volunteers Program is partnering with Communities in Schools and the Cheney School District to provide mentors at area elementary and middle schools. New projects will help Eastern strengthen its connections to the communities it serves – which is just what the university envisioned when it opened the Office of Community Engagement. If you are interested in learning more about Eastern’s community engagement programs, please contact us at email@example.com or 509.359.6255.