City Engagement: Will New Structure Bring Results?
Director of City Engagement, Greg Pittman (‘12) says he's pleased with the progress the newly re-designed program has made over the past semester. "We're meeting on a regular basis and have an an operating budget," says Pittman. "We've had a really good relationship with about 10 different organizations in New York City," he adds.
Last month, King's held this year's first City Engagement Fair in the college's City Room. Several organizations were present, including City Hall's NYC Service, a new government-sponsored community service organization. In addition to NYC Service, other organizations present included Urban Impact and Student Venture.
Pittman says the City Engagement committee exceeded its goal of having 100 students present at the fair.
He hopes to host more events and to restore City Engagement to an important place in the House system.
Since the program was removed from the house competition, most House service projects conducted have been small-scale student initiatives, rather than house-wide service events.
New York Student Venture Staffer Chris Trimpe worked with the House of Thatcher when City Engagement was a competition.
"In the past, competition led to the development of new ideas," she says, referring to ideas such as Thatcher's tutoring program at a local high school and Churchill's Subway Marathon.
However, though competition led to results, Trimpe says it's better that students can now choose where to serve.
"Before they weren't always serving where their heart or gifts are," she says. "Passions are better than obligations."
Will the new City Engagement model inspire commitment and passion in students? Trimpe isn't sure.
"It is the nature of King's students to pioneer, to start something new, but when something is already established, they are less likely to take ownership of something that's already established," Trimpe says, reflecting on past years working with King's students.
However, Pittman and Student Body President Pam Dodge are hopeful the new model of City Engagement will stick.
"I'd love to see City Engagement become more like a second attitude, or a heart...that is just part of what every house does not [something] that the school has to enforce for them," Pittman said.