Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

DU delivers on promise to invest in public good

DU revised its vision statement in 2001 to: “The University of Denver will be a great private university dedicated to the public good.” 

Eric Fretz, Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CCESL) director at DU says it’s more than just words. Fretz says it’s about the school marshalling its intellectual resources to solve important problems.

And money, too — $100,000. That’s how much a DU Public Good Committee, made up of a cross-section of the University, disburses annually as part of the school’s efforts to produce good not only in Denver, but also around the globe.

“The public good has since become a significant part of the culture at DU,” Fretz says. “In fact, since the vision statement change, DU has made consistent efforts to forward public good work and to weave an ethic of the public good into the campus culture.”  

Fretz says school officials identified these items as “the public good”: diversification, institutional outreach, teaching and learning, public scholarship, and volunteerism and activism.  

Since 2003, DU has given more than $400,000 to support faculty, students and staff who have created more than 75 public good and service learning projects. 

Recent examples, for which the committee awarded 2006–07 grants, include: 

•    A Graduate School of Social Work project to develop leadership among adolescents living in Denver public housing by pairing them with DU students to identify problems and develop specific plans for solving them. 

•    A Department of Geography project investigating energy independence options in Guatemala where communities are cultivating a plant that produces fuel.   

•    A Department of English forum to discuss indigenous identity, community, politics and culture as well as its coverage in American Indian literature.

Comments are closed.