Engagement

The CEC is poised to bring together and interlock members of the larger community with members and specialists from The Ohio State University in order to move various communities forward. Currently the Center selectively provides space to a number of community and service oriented organizations that use the facility regularly for meetings and presentations.  This sort of activity will continue.  In addition to this, however, the Center will become the site of special training programs, forums and workshops. Organizations that promote agendas pertinent to the Black experience are especially welcomed at the Center. In addition to allowing groups to use our space the Director and the Senior Program Outreach Program Coordinator will work closely with the appropriate representatives of community--based organizations and agencies such as the Neighborhood House Inc., the Columbus Urban League and the King Arts Complex to promote joint efforts when advisable and to determine the most efficient use of our respective resources.

Special events will be planned for each year, but will be dependent, to some small degree, on the availability of specialist, speakers, and events such as scheduled elections.  Regardless of the occurrences of these unique events, however, the Director in consultation with the Senior Program Coordinator will coordinate an event each year that underscores the importance of engagement. Black History and Memory in American Culture: A Story Worth Telling is the theme by which our engagement work will be guided. As part of our commitment to engagement each year, the Center will highlight the contribution made by Columbus’ men and women who served in the U.S Armed Forces. More specifically, the Center will host an afternoon symposium that will honor a military unit in which members of the community served. It is important to demonstrate public support for those whose service reflects a commitment to preserving democracy here and abroad. This symposium not only publicly acknowledges the efforts of those brave men and women, but also provides an opportunity for scholars as well as laypersons to learn about a piece of history that might otherwise not have come to their attention.

As was stated at the outset, as a large-grant institution The Ohio State University recognizes its legal and moral obligations to improve the quality of life for Ohio’s residents. The original mission of The Ohio State University as set forth in the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890 was to provide instruction in agriculture, military science and the mechanical arts as well as classical studies so that residents in the surrounding community could obtain an affordable education and one that was practical to the areas in which these students lived. Since the late 1800s the United States and indeed the country has become increasingly more urban, which has brought about a new set of challenges—ones that require land grant institutions such as The Ohio State University to adapt to these new and exciting phenomena. The Department of African American and African Studies Community Extension Center is reflective of that commitment.

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