Community Engagement involves community advocacy


Samuel Summers

Director of Recreation and Well Being Greg Jordan

BOARD, also known as the Board of Advocacy and Resource Development, started at Oakland University to bring programs and connectivity to the local community.

The group was created in November 2017, and only two of the 14 current members are from Oakland. BOARD comes out of the Department of Health Sciences and was created by Health Sciences Dean Kevin Ball. According to the boards bylaws, no one can join BOARD if they are full time faculty in the Department of Health Science; with the exception of Ball since he is the executive. The reasoning is, conflict of interest and the need for others opinions.

“Typically most schools have a BOARD and it helps us connect to our community partners,” Ball said.

The goal of BOARD is to advocate for the community. One of the many ways is through community engagement, especially in regard to health and well-being. It is a way for university professionals to become leaders and give back to the community.

BOARD itself also acts as an advisory board for the Department of Health Sciences since the whole department is going through several transformations.

“It’s new, and it is evolving as we speak… It fills a void, it’s a mix of community, alumni and staff, cutting edge and innovative,” said Greg Jordan, director of Recreation and Well-Being.

Reaching out via philanthropic efforts helps the community and promotes community engagement, which is what BOARD is all about. BOARD has the ability to directly bring about change in the community by providing funding and scholarships. Monetary donations sometimes help initiatives move faster and smoother to meet the desired end goal.

Members are from all over, and this is because “friend raising often leads to fundraising,” according to Ball. It is all about networking and connectivity between people and organizations. The group works together to contribute to one goal.

The next project coming up is the Public and Environmental Wellness Symposium entitled Healthology.

“It will be an event where faculty and students will have the opportunity to showcase their work,” Ball said.

The work showcased is research done by various students and professors in this field of study.

Those who don’t live on campus can run the risk of becoming isolated and unaware of the ideas and innovations that are happening. This event is designed to draw the community to campus to learn about health. There will be four national speakers including TED talk speaker President and Founder of Health Begins, Rishi Manchanda, M.D., MPH.

Several members are significantly involved with the symposium as it is their field of study or interest.

For instance, the Healthology Symposium is a place where minds come together with scientific research to showcase it to the local community and various partners. The Recreation and Wellness center is a natural partner for BOARD and the department of health sciences. Both part’s of the university create opportunities for each sector to grow.

“Emphasis on health and well-being is coming to the forefront and is gradually becoming a quality of life issue,” Jordan said.