ASU civic engagement office reaches across the SLV


ALAMOSA — "Our Mission: To promote a community of trust, respect and civility through mutually satisfying campus and community relationships. We believe that a healthy, vibrant community requires the strengths and contributions of all who call it home," comment together Shirley Atencio and Kay Lewis, pictured above, Coordinator for Civic Engagement & Career Services and Assistant Director, respectively.

The two clarified, "The Civic Engagement program is a new addition to the Counseling and Career Department at Adams State. We have been working to build it since September 2017. We are in the very beginnings of building up the program. Our main goals in he office are to build stronger connections between Adams State and the San Luis Valley community-- finding avenues for mutual learning and partnering together to address community needs."

During the last week of February, 42 individually named community organizations attended an information session given by the new entity, largely nonprofits and governmental organization that geographically spread over virtually the entire SLV. Another information session will take place at a date yet to be determined, and the ASU Office of Civic Engagement wants to be clear that both nonprofits and businesses are invited to attend. The point is that the 'real' world that students are entering both now and soon after graduation include both types of organization, community, university cooperation to improve outcomes for both are a vital part of the new office's purpose.

An event entering a seventh annual date will be sooner, sponsored along with ASU Career Services. That is the Career Fair from 10 am to 3 pm Thursday, March 8, in the Student Union Building Banquet Rooms. Free and open to all Adams State and Trinidad State Junior College students and alumni, as well as the San Luis Valley community.

Presently, the annual budget for the Office of Civic Engagement is $5,000 for the 2017-18 academic year. But one outstanding measure as of January was to add Assistant Director Kay Lewis. She is new to the SLV, moving from Rochester, New York. She received her Bachelor from Rochester Institute of Technology, and her Masters from Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois, a school with over 8,500 undergraduates and graduate student population driving enrollment to over 10,000. She has worked at a number of institutions, focused on residential life.

According to material provided by ASU, "She has a passion for Training and Development, and is always looking for ways to help students explore and reach their personal and academic goals...She is excited about building partnerships with local businesses, organizations, and community members to benefit the students and greater SLV community." Besides Western Illinois University, she has worked at Colorado State University- Fort Collins, and University of Rochester most recently.

As a brief summary, Director Shirley Atencio and Assistant Director Kay Lewis explained, "Within the next year, we will be focusing on the following:

  1. Increase civic mindedness on campus through speakers, student lead programming, voter registration drives, etc.
  2. Connect Community organizations and the campus in the creation of:
    1. Short and long term volunteering connections (partner agencies will be able to post one time and ongoing volunteer opportunities on our website and we will work to recruit Adams State students, faculty & staff to participate.
    2. The development of community based learning opportunities (working with faculty to partner with community organizations in the development of projects. Faculty develop specific course-related learning outcomes that need to be met and community organizations work with faculty and students to create a project that will meet a true need of the organization or community as a whole. The goal is to create reciprocal relationships where students and the community both benefit.)
    3. The creation of new internships in connection with community organizations (these internships can be paid, or unpaid for credit.)"

A phone number to reach the Office of Community Engagement is 719-587-8300 or For further information about the office, the link to the Civic Engagement website.