Maggie Stevens, Indiana Campus Compact Executive Director
As we celebrated the 20th anniversary of Indiana Campus Compact last week, I experienced a moment of humility unlike any that I have experienced before. As I sat and listened to the individuals who built Indiana Campus Compact (and directly and indirectly have contributed to the growth of the Campus Compact network), I was reminded that I am only a tiny piece of the Indiana Campus Compact story. There were many people who contributed to this organization prior to my arrival. There are many people who contribute to the success of Indiana Campus Compact beside me every day. And there are many who will come after my tenure with Indiana Campus Compact to help it grow and maintain its relevance in the rapidly changing higher education culture where we all exist. This isn’t just about Indiana Campus Compact, it is a reminder to each of us that everything we do is bigger than we are and everything we are part of has a story that stretches long before us and likely will stretch long after us.
So knowing that we are a small part of a larger story, how do we ensure that our contributions are the right ones right now? For that, I think we have to remember where we are and look at our past, our present, and our future.
Twenty years ago there was a group of students who felt that it was important to engage their peers in local communities during college while also ensuring that the community engagement would remain a priority in their lives after their time in college. At the same time these students were mobilizing, six university presidents/chancellors were aligning themselves with the Campus Compact movement and pooling resources in order to establish the 11th state Campus Compact in Indiana in an effort to show the positive impact that college students had in their communities and increase the visibility and importance of institutions of higher education engaging with their communities. It is their vision for engaging college students and institutions of higher education in their communities that fuels Indiana Campus Compact’s work today.
Over the past two decades, Indiana Campus Compact has interacted directly with thousands of individuals (students, faculty, staff, and university administrators) during their time on a college campus and in turn has been impacted and shaped by each of these individuals. Whether it was through members of our Advisory Council or Board of Directors, chatting with our staff during a campus visit, writing a grant application, or providing feedback at a conference—each of these individuals has contributed to the growth of this organization. Indiana Campus Compact truly is greater because of the sum of its many parts.
I am honored to be stewarding Indiana Campus Compact’s resources with a great team at this moment in our story, but as we celebrate the first twenty years, we would be remiss if we didn’t think about what we want the next twenty years to look like. In order to honor our founders, we must ask ourselves, “Where do we go from here and how we do ensure that Indiana Campus Compact will be strong and relevant twenty years from now?” To answer that question, I look back to the things that we celebrated last week—the vision of our founders and the commitment of our members. These are things that have convinced new campuses to join our network allowing us to grow from six campuses to 42. These are the things that have convinced funders and partners to become a part of our story and to share their resources with us. And I have no doubt that Indiana Campus Compact’s story will stretch for many more decades. Indiana Campus Compact will continue to thrive if we keep our founders and our members in mind. I look forward to continuing to write this story with you and seeing how it unfolds!