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Partnerships highlighted at Civic Engagement Showcase

  • woman standing by framed photos in an exhibit
  • two women in front of poster
  • people in front of poster
  • people pouring water into clear plastic tank
  • President Haas talking to crowd with microphone

Posted on April 12, 2019

Thirty teams of students, faculty and staff, and community members illustrated their collaborative projects and initiatives at the Civic Engagement Showcase held April 11 at the DeVos Center on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus.

Travus Burton, director for Civic Learning and Community Engagement, said the posters and exhibits represented new and established projects in West Michigan.

"This event provides a space for people to celebrate and learn more about our great partnerships, initiatives and current issues in the communities Grand Valley serves," Burton said.

Kate Malburg, a senior who is majoring in photography, stood in front of her compelling portraits of Muskegon teens and discussed how posing for photographs gave the teenagers a voice. Malburg spent the fall semester working with Charlotte Johnson, from Community enCompass, a neighborhood development organization serving the core neighborhoods of Muskegon.

Johnson runs the Youth Empowerment Project and said she contacted Burton's office with the idea of collaborating with Grand Valley students to capture the thoughts and concerns of her group of 32 YEP teens.

"I wanted to use the arts to help the teens get their hurt out," Johnson said. Each framed photograph includes a paragraph written by a YEP participant about "what's needed for a healthy community," Johnson said. Answers touched on housing, education, safety and respect.

Malburg's photos were displayed in the Muskegon Museum of Art and are slated to be added to Grand Valley's Art Gallery collection.

In addition to projects showcasing community engagement, the event highlighted university initiatives, such as Making Waves, GVSU Votes!, Sustainable Agriculture Project, and the Laker Effect Map.