Cultivating a Spirit of Service: The Honey W. Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service

November 1, 2018

Tereese Smith stands in front of the Honey W. Nashman Center logo

Since its inception, the Honey W. Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service has strived to more fully incorporate civic engagement into the GW community, both inside and outside the classroom. This academic year, I have the rewarding opportunity of being placed in the Nashman Center. I experience first-hand how the Nashman Center cultivates service and civic engagement in the GW community through its focus points: community-engaged scholarship, community service and engagement, and social innovation.

Primarily, I work with GWServes and community partners. GWServes is a new platform launched this year through the Nashman Center that allows students, student organizations, departments, and community partners to search and share service opportunities and reflect on community impact. I help community partners connect with GW students, student organizations, faculty, and courses. The platform directly supports the Nashman Center’s efforts to make service accessible and help GW community members understand the wide array of opportunities related to service, both direct and indirect. Launched at the beginning of this semester, today the platform has over 4,500 users (including Presidential Fellows!), 108 subgroups, 101 community partners, and continues growing!

Although GWServes is my focus at the Nashman Center, the center has a variety of programs, initiatives, and events. Through programs such as Jumpstart, engageDC, SMARTDC, and ArtReach, the Nashman Center is helping students connect with GW and the greater DC community. Going even further, the Nashman Center is spearheading the charge to encourage GW students to vote in the upcoming midterm elections and showcasing the importance of voting and being an informed, engaged citizen through GW Votes.

My placement at the Nashman Center is not only allowing me to develop skills in multi-level stakeholder engagement, but also helping me gain a better understanding of what community engagement is and its importance.