Community involvement: a priority for Oakland University

Previously, all the information regarding community engagement through Oakland University was located in different areas, but now it is all housed in one central location. This new hub makes it easier for alumni, faculty, students and community members to come together and get involved.

The community page services three counties: Oakland, Wayne and Macomb. Oakland University has a number of partnerships with 218 in Oakland County, 84 in Wayne County and 31 in Macomb County.

Vice President for Student Affairs, Glenn McIntosh said, “there was not one source that pulls together the story of our outreach efforts.”

This is why the idea of creating a central source page eventually became a reality. It does not only house volunteer opportunities but also internships, co-ops and jobs as well.

Four important teams came together to create and build the previously thought of involvement page. The Division of Student Affairs and Diversity, the Office of the Provost and the University Communications and Marketing Department worked together as a team to create the page.

Leonardo Debiaggi is the senior student affairs information technology director for the community involvement page creation process. His main duties once he acquired the position mostly included giving feedback on different features and going to meetings with various campus stakeholders to discuss the future of the website.

Debiaggi was chosen for the job because of his prior experience in building websites for Oakland.

“It was a phenomenal experience,” Debiaggi stated.

The group as whole were working together to establish something for one of Oakland’s top priorities, community engagement. It was a highly collaborative task to make community engagement easier to access.

Working with Rochester’s neighbors is a high priority for McIntosh.

“If you’re going to prosper you have to grow together,” McIntosh explained.

Oakland has a program called OU/ Pontiac Initiative which enables both neighborhoods to grow. There are 37 programs housed within the initiative and students are encouraged to lend a hand to help the Pontiac community. One example is to help teach k-12 students how to better their reading and writing skills.

According to McIntosh, students should “get involved because there’s so much learning in the community.”

The world is bigger than Oakland and there is so much to accomplish outside of classes and the university. Debiaggi reported the community engagement page “helps connect the community to the campus.”

The website also contains and displays the successes and highlights of neighborhood engagements since OU was born.

Beyond this, some writing and rhetoric classes require 10 hours of community service as a portion of a project. This page would be able to point students in the right direction and figure out where they would like to volunteer close to home.

“[It’s a] great starting point for students who want to learn more about Oakland’s community and want to get involved,” Debiaggi said.

If you wish to get involved, visit the community page on OU’s website.