Duke Service-Learning Event Series: Communities First: Purposes, Perspectives, and Practices

And yes, we are far from polished

far from pristine

but that doesn't mean we are

striving to form a union that is perfect

We are striving to forge a union with purpose

― Excerpt from Amanda Gorman's poem "The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country"

What is the purpose of community-university partnerships? Whose knowledge and experiences are centered? What does it mean to “be with” and “belong to” a community? What are the limitations of “helping” and “giving back”? How can we act in solidarity with a community's vision for itself?

Each academic year, Duke Service-Learning chooses a theme to focus our work and to learn with and from our communities. We are designating our efforts in 2021-22 as Communities First: Purposes, Partnerships, and Practices. We hope you’ll join us in the months ahead as faculty, students, staff, and community partners share their experiences and practices for co-constructing knowledge, disrupting hierarchy, and enacting our shared liberation.

Check out our September programming below and stay tuned for more announcements as the Fall 2021 semester unfolds!


Communities Learning Together
Tuesday, 9/21, 1:30pm-3:00pm

How do we build ethical and sustainable local and global partnerships? What are strategies to co-construct pathways that transform how we learn together? Join us for a conversation that will provide principles and on-the-ground realities of university-community partnerships. Joan Clifford, Director of the Community-Based Language Initiative with Duke Service-Learning, will summarize her recent research on university-community partnerships. Liliana Paredes, Professor of the Practice of Romance Studies, will provide an international model by describing her partnership with Universidad de las Américas in Mexico. Participants will reflect together on how we can teach and learn in ways that put communities first. Please join us on Zoom – all are welcome. RSVP here.