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Magrath Community Engagement Award Finalist Spotlight: Colorado State University

September 16, 2019

Magrath Community Engagement Award Spotlight: Colorado State University
In recognition of their extraordinary community outreach initiatives, four APLU member institutions have been selected as regional recipients of the 2019 W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award. As regional winners, Colorado State University, Cornell University, University of Louisville, and Purdue University will represent and compete for the national C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award, which will be announced during the APLU Annual Meeting November 10-12 in San Diego, California. In this post, APLU spotlights Colorado State University’s work to mentor disadvantaged youth in its community.

In 2009, Colorado State University (CSU) launched the Campus Connections Youth Mentoring Program to help mentor disadvantaged youth and build leadership skills for CSU students. Larimer County, where CSU is located, faced a growing population of at-risk youth with truancy, substance abuse, and delinquency issues at the time.

Alarmed at the long-term implications of this development, the Colorado legislature called on community leaders to address the issue. Stepping up, CSU partnered with an array of community partners to form the Campus Connections program and address community needs with evidence-based solutions. The program pairs undergraduate students with at-risk youth in a uniquely structured, multi-level mentoring community.

Over the past decade, the program has paired 2,350 disadvantaged youth with 3,000 CSU students. Mentees report improved wellbeing and less acceptance of risky behavior following the program. The mentoring CSU students, meanwhile, achieve personal growth, build civic engagement skills, and demonstrate higher university persistence and graduation rates. The program has proven so successful that four other universities have adopted the program’s approach and curriculum.

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