VCU Community Engagement News

Center for Community Engagement and Impact

The Gulf-South Summit will be held virtually March 15 to 18. VCU faculty, staff, students and community partners can attend for free as part of an institutional VCU membership.

By Jenny Pedraza, APR

The Virginia Commonwealth University Center for Community Engagement and Impact (CEI) and the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) will offer free registration to VCU faculty, staff, students and community partners to the 2021 Gulf-South Summit on Service-Learning and Civic Engagement through Higher Education conference, to be held virtually March 15 to 18.

The conference, which will focus on “Building (and Rebuilding) Healthier Communities,” aims to promote networking among practitioners, research, ethical practices, reciprocal campus-community partnerships, sustainable programs and a culture of engagement and public awareness through service-learning and other forms of civic engagement. Individual registration for the conference without an institutional membership is $100.

Amanda Hall, Ph.D., director of community-engaged research and special projects in the CEI, said one of the top priorities for CEI is to serve as a central resource for the integration of community-engaged teaching, learning and research across the institution and within the community. 

“Through our institutional membership with Gulf South, we are able to provide inclusive access to a wealth of knowledge, skills and hands-on tools from across the region and the country,” Hall said. “Students, faculty, staff and community partners will have the opportunity to share their expertise and lived experiences, learn from others and form points of connection that will serve to bolster our own commitment to authentic university-community partnerships and civic education. The Summit is a perfect resource for best-practices in the field and innovative new methods to engage both students and the community.”  

As a leader in the field, VCU has a long-standing history with the Gulf South Summit. VCU faculty, students and scholar administrators have been valued presenters, participants and award recipients over the years. 

Two VCU teams will present at the conference this year: 

Jessie Feng, a senior undergraduate VCU student majoring in biology; Amanda Hall, director of community-engaged research and special projects in the CEI; and Katie Elliott, associate director of service-learning in VCU CEI, will present, “The Translation of Inclusion, Accessibility, Acceptance, and Empathy with Online Community Engagement.”

Faculty from the VCU University College, including Michaux Dempster, Mark Meier and Ywone Edwards-Ingram; Sara Barton, learning garden coordinator, VCU Office of Sustainability; and the Visual Arts Center of Richmond will present, “Healthier Communities, Healthier Students.” 

Membership in the Gulf-South Summit executive committee consists of representatives from Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Tennessee and Virginia. 

For more information about the conference, including a conference schedule and speakers, visit To request a registration code to utilize VCU’s membership, e-mail The deadline to register is March 8. 


The VCU Center for Community Engagement and Impact provides expertise for high-quality community engagement while leveraging university resources to address critical community-identified needs. The center is VCU’s central hub to convene and coordinate authentic community-university partnerships that strengthen research, student learning and faculty success.

Categories CEI News, Community-Engaged Research
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