North Carolina Campus Engagement moves in bold new direction

Formerly North Carolina Campus Compact, the organization relaunched this summer and detailed a new vision for the years ahead.

The start of this academic year came with a bold new direction for North Carolina Campus Compact, which during the summer relaunched as an independent organization with a new name: North Carolina Campus Engagement.

Hosted at Elon University, North Carolina Campus Engagement has deep roots on campus, stretching back to its formation nearly three decades ago and its growth as a leader in educating students in civic and social responsibility. A collaborative network of 39 colleges and universities, North Carolina Campus Engagement (NCCE) partners with communities for positive change and leads initiatives to strengthen democracy.

N.C. Campus Engagement Executive Director Leslie Garvin speaking during a summer launch event for the organization.

“There is no question that the strength, vitality, and sustainability of NCCE – and this nearly 30-year collaborative network of N.C. colleges and universities committed to community engagement – is directly tied to the support and stability provided by the partnership with Elon University,” said Leslie Garvin, executive director of North Carolina Campus Engagement. “Not only are we truly grateful for this commitment but we are also so proud to be associated with an institution that continues to be a national leader and model of community and civic engagement.”

To celebrate the shift, NCCE hosted launch parties at High Point University and N.C. State University this summer that included reflecting on the organization’s past and looking toward its future. The celebration included the unveiling of the new Vision 2025 plan that details the organization’s plans for strategic growth and for deepening its member campus network.

NCCE began as North Carolina Campus Volunteers in 1993 as a state-based effort focused on mobilizing the North Carolina higher education sector to deepen its commitment to their public purposes of addressing social issues and advancing a just and democratic society. The organization had early ties to Elon, which in 1994 hosted the first annual statewide student conference for North Carolina Campus Volunteers and helped coordinate the growing coalition.

North Carolina Campus Volunteers would become an affiliate of Campus Compact, a national coalition of college and university presidents, committed to fulfilling the public purposes of higher education, in 2002 to connect these statewide efforts to a growing national community and civic engagement movement. With the move, Elon agreed to serve as host campus to North Carolina Campus Compact, the new affiliate, with President Emeritus Leo M. Lambert serving as the first chair of the organization’s executive board and John Barnhill ‘95, now associate vice president for university advancement, serving as its first executive director.

After two decades of national affiliation, the organization adopted a new vision that includes a return to its place-based roots and the adoption of its new name — North Carolina Campus Engagement. As an unaffiliated and independent organization, NCCE will be advancing the collaborative work of public problem-solving and strengthening democracy through the transformation of people, institutions and communities across North Carolina, according to Garvin.

“This shift is an exciting opportunity to strengthen and deepen support for this unique cross-sector network of institutions that embrace a shared responsibility to help solve public problems while preparing students for active citizenship,” Garvin said.