Engage@EMU holds open house for programs

art created for the Engage@EMU open house

Engage@EMU, a university office just over a year old, held an open house Friday, Dec. 8 to showcase several programs and invite those interested to see how they can engage with the community. 

The open house took up a small office space at Boone Hall, with food catered by STUFD and a various decorations and pamphlets for programs related to the office. From 12p.m. to 2p.m., those attending could talk amongst representative of the programs, eat, and gain information. 

“What we’re trying to do at the university, with exception of the VISION volunteer center, is [make sure] any program that facilitates or works with the community or business is supported by us,” said Jessica “Decky” Alexander, the director for academic engagement at EMU. “Some of them are run directly by us, while some of them are just supported by us. “ 

The office’s website acts as a single doorway to move through a tree of different programs, separated by two ‘links’, the community link and the business link. The community link connects anyone interested (whether it be nonprofits and schools or individuals) to possible collaborations or partnerships. It includes some existing offices at EMU, including the Institute for the Study of Children, Family and Community (ISCFC) and the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. 

The business link does something very similar, but is meant mostly for those seeking information on patents for products or forming business relationships. Those interested can pick up information on various curriculums, centers and laboratories, talent pathways and various businesses and corporations. 

“If you were working on a project as a student, either by yourself or with faculty – or say yu came up with something you wanted to develop, you might need a business partner, or you might need some help doing customer discovery,” said Melinda Marion, a member of the technology transfer office in the program. “You would call the technology transfer office and I would either connect you or help you with finding dollars or resources.” 

The support Engage@EMU provides can vary between financial and marketing.

“For example, the business engagement council – we just help support its existence, we don’t necessarily own it and all the entities under it,” said Alexander. “The whole idea is for the community and the university to have one door for everything.” 

One door that branches out to several paths and leads to communication in a streamlined fashion was the main idea for Engage, keeping people from getting caught in a loop while looking for resources. 

Brett Tavana, an EMU alumnus with a major in elementary education, is a member of the Bright Futures, a set of after-school programs that support the interests and cultivate goals for the future for kids. The Engage department helps promote the program by acting as a bridge to the community. 

“All of our programs are Monday through Thursday when school ends and last about two and a half hours,” said Tavana. “We have credit certified teachers that run every program in addition to staff members that work with them.” 

EMU is a partner to Bright Futures through ISCFC, which falls under the umbrella of Engage@EMU. 

The department can be reached via phone at 734.487.6570. Their website is the easiest way to reach all the programs under their umbrella. 

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