Live. Learn. Serve. Remember.

Just as communities depend on maps of physical space, they should create maps of information flow that enable members to connect to the data and information they want,” asserts Peter Levine in his recently-published white paper, “Civic Engagement and Community Information: Five Strategies to Revive Civic Communication.”

Texas Campus Compact [TxCC] will challenge communities across Texas via implementation of the state’s premier Day of Service, creating a network map involving 800,000 college students, with the motto, “Live. Learn. Serve. Remember.” 

TxCC’s mission is to build and foster a statewide collaboration of institutions of higher education committed to developing civic engagement and service learning partnerships between communities, faculty, and students. 

Universities and community colleges have an obligation to not only educate their students, but also to form meaningful partnerships with the communities in which they reside. TxCC plays a vital role in putting a community lens on the academic experience in that we advocate, educate, and motivate students to act as citizen-stewards, as activists, and as experiential learners. 

“People do not automatically acquire an understanding and appreciation of valuable civic knowledge,” Levine notes. “Each generation must transmit to the next the skills, motivations, and understanding necessary to create and preserve public knowledge.” 

As we approach the 10-year anniversary of the September 11 attack on our nation, TxCC finds it imperative to publicly engage our state’s best resources – our very own college students – in this inaugural effort. Involving our college students in this historic day of remembrance will allow us to carve a path that will enable them to exercise their voices, commemorating and remembering those fallen heroes whose legacies will live on through the meaningful service that will ensue as a result of this civic engagement project.

TxCC will be working with many higher education campuses throughout Texas to address this service activity, including Austin Community College, Blinn College, Collin College, Concordia University, Dallas County Community College District, El Paso Community College, Kilgore College, Lone Star College System, Our Lady Of The Lake University, Southwestern University, St. Edward’s University, Stephen F. Austin State University, St. Mary’s University, Texas Christian University, Texas Southmost College, Texas State University, Texas Tech University, Trinity University, Tyler Junior College, University of Houston Downtown, University of Houston-Clearlake, University of Texas at Arlington, University of Texas at Austin, University of North Texas at Dallas, and the University of Texas at Brownsville.

(These higher education institutions are confirmed renewing members of Texas Campus Compact; we expect more to come on board in time for September 11, as our nearly 75 member schools go through the TxCC renewal process.)

Texas is in the middle of a very serious drought. According to a July 1, 2011 CNN online story, “Wildfires have scorched nearly 3.3 million acres of Texas since November, setting ablaze an area larger than Connecticut. Authorities have banned outdoor fires in 235 of the state's 254 counties, a figure the Texas Forest Service called record-setting.”

From October 2010 to June 2011, Texas has officially experienced the driest nine-month period in its history, according to accuweather.com. This dry period has led to widespread extreme drought conditions throughout the state. The drought is nearing record levels itself, with this one being ranked as the third-worst in Texas history.

Being a firefighter is one of most rewarding jobs in the spirit and tradition of community service. Firefighters are involved in fire suppression; however, this is only one aspect of the job. Firefighters respond to emergency medical care, motor vehicle accidents, heart attacks, strokes, home accidents, and other medical and trauma-related incidents. When not responding to emergency medical calls, firefighters are involved in other activities such as emergency preparedness, community education, public service work building inspections; personal development, and station maintenance. Firefighters put their lives in jeopardy each time they are called upon to serve their community, a great many of these selfless volunteers, i.e. first responders, were called upon almost 10 years ago, on the day that transformed our nation: September 11, 2001.

TxCC touches roughly 800,000 college students throughout the state of Texas.  However, we anticipate 3,000 to 5,000 student volunteers participating in this historic initiative. In Texas, there is a real need for students to be more prepared academically – but more importantly, to enter the workforce with a college degree.  Service learning, learning by doing, significantly impacts a student’s educational career and life positively increases retention rates among Texas college graduates, especially first generation and minority students.

One college student at each of our member campuses will serve as a team info-sharing captain tasked with securing pledges from 10 team members; each of these 10 team members will be tasked with getting 10 college students.  These students will be tasked with obtaining pledges, connecting other students to our website, to fill out their choice of one of four e-cards, to be sent to a fire station of their choice during the month of September. Each e-card thanks firemen for their service and pledges engagement in one of four service projects: completing CPR training, making a fire safety plan for family/household, distributing fire safety tips to friends, or teaching friends and family proper use of a fire extinguisher.

Our Creative Director will be tasked with providing online resources to help students complete these four service projects, as well as tracking and documenting e-card sendouts.

Our promotional plan for marketing and media outreach for this special day of service will be overseen by a team of public relations professionals, to include the marketing directors of the aforementioned campuses and our consulting partners at Orange Cone Agency, overseeing all aspects of promotional development in conjunction with the TxCC Executive Director, Director of Programs, Creative Director, and two college interns.  We will be issuing statewide special messages to our members, will garner earned media stories, craft PSAs for electronic and print media, and will utilize social media channels.  We will have a countdown clock to September 11, 2011 on our web site available for volunteers with our service activity slogan:  Live. Learn. Serve. Remember.