At its core, our job in community relations is about making connections—connecting the university with community members, organizations and government officials, among others. And the goal of each of these connections is to amplify strengths and to achieve a positive impact. Most of the time, these connections are intentional, but every now and then, there are chance meetings that turn into success stories, like the one that’s told in three of this month’s newsletter spotlights.
Last spring at a community event, I ran into Rhonda Crowder, a Glenville resident who owns a creative services firm. During the course of our conversation, she mentioned that she wanted to hire Alana Johns, then a Case Western Reserve first-year student, for a summer internship. Rhonda wondered if the university had any grants or fellowships that would pay Alana a stipend for her work. I connected her to Drew Poppleton, the university’s Director of Post-Graduate Planning and Experiential Education, who I told her could likely help. We finished our conversation and parted ways.
I later learned that this conversation led to a happy ending: Alana applied to the Humanities@Work Summer Stipend Program (at Drew’s suggestion) and they received a stipend—and importantly, valuable experience and career exposure—for their work with Rhonda.
Happy accidents are always appreciated, but this story is also a reminder that each of us has connections that can help advance a person, a cause or an organization. As we head into Thanksgiving, I’m grateful to be a part of a university that seeks to make meaningful, impactful connections that make our university and broader community a better place for all.
Please continue to share this newsletter and encourage colleagues to subscribe. In the meantime, I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.
-Julian Rogers, Assistant Vice President, Local Government and Community Relations