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Center for Community Engaged Learning

Fordham students interacting with kids

The Center for Community Engaged Learning (CCEL) is a new initiative that builds on Fordham’s tradition for engagement by coalescing the work of the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice and Global Outreach, while building a system for integrating faculty teaching and research. The center provides Fordham students with opportunities to learn with and from our local and global community partners and to incorporate scholarly research into community-based collaborations.

Through communal engagement at the local, national, and international levels, CCEL facilitates Fordham’s mission as a Jesuit, Catholic, and New York City entity of higher learning. In providing opportunities such as Urban Plunge, Service Learning, and Global Outreach, and by developing students’ capacity as scholars and civic leaders, the Center for Community Engaged Learning cultivates relationships of mutual and perpetual benefit in New York City, throughout the United States, and around the world.

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Message from the Center for Community Engaged Learning

Dear Friends of CCEL:

Black lives matter. That should be obvious, but frankly our history suggests otherwise. So we will say it again. Black lives matter. We deplore police abuse. We deplore systemic racism and the violence we have seen—including that in our own neighborhoods—these last weeks. And we feel grief at the suffering that members of our communities endure.

Some friends of the Center for Community Engaged Learning have asked us what the center will do. To start, we will rely on the wisdom of Oscar Romero, who was assassinated in El Salvador while working for the liberation of his own people in a context of terrible repression. In his famous prayer, he reminds us of the importance of taking the long view. “We cannot do everything,” he says. “And there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.”

The Fordham Center for Community Engaged Learning will triple our investment of time, energy, and attention into sustainable partnerships in the areas around the Bronx and Lincoln Center campuses. We will do so more strategically in order to be a better neighbor and deepen real relationships between students, faculty, and members of our communities. CCEL will focus on schools and other non-profits in order to advance the long-term work of justice.

We will continue to urge and help facilitate the adoption of anti-racist pedagogy across the University’s curriculum. We will also continue to promote our Global Outreach projects and collaborate with Fordham’s colleges, schools, departments, and clubs, all of which have their own unique gifts, goals, resources and capacities. Here is a link with a set of actions and resources that we at CCEL can commit to, as well as a link to the Chief Diversity Officer's resources. It is insufficient but not insignificant. It will evolve as we learn of new opportunities. We find hope in Romero’s call to do some things well.

The effects of Coronavirus on our operations and those of our community partners are still unknown, and so there will be a period of uncertainty. Right now public health mandates severely limit our capacity. But we want to do what we can for our students and will soon host conversations to learn how we may be able to support you better.

The Center for Community Engaged Learning offers itself as a partner in promoting what Dr. King called a “positive peace,” not the negative peace of complacency, but the positive peace of tension, striving, and change. We know this is a scary time. We don’t have the answers. But we want to walk with you as you struggle to find the right answers to your own question, at this crucial moment: what are you called to do?