Note: This interview was done before the organization changed its name to Transform Mid-Atlantic. All references to Campus Compact Mid-Atlantic or CCMA are to Transform Mid-Atlantic (TMA).
“Why do I give?” Dr. Alan Penczek tells his own story in this short interview:
How did you become connected with Campus Compact Mid-Atlantic?
“I taught philosophy at Stevenson University for 25 years. As a professor, I attended a conference where the seed of service-learning was planted. Returning from that conference, I decided to integrate service-learning into my courses, even taking a sabbatical in order to develop a course proposal. As one of a small group spearheading service-learning at Stevenson, I assisted other faculty members as they developed service-learning components in their courses. In 2007, Madeline Yates contacted me about an initiative to found a (then) Maryland Campus Compact — and that was the beginning of a friendship, which has become a close one over the years.”
How did you develop a passion for CCMA’s mission of developing campus-community partnerships?
“Through my teaching, I was able to see firsthand the positive effects of service-learning on my own students. My students would say that my service-learning course was their favorite class . . . and I heard colleagues who used service-learning report similar evaluations and feedback. So I was in a privileged position to see just how valuable credit-bearing service learning is. For a long time now I’ve appreciated the value of this type of work in a fairly personal way. Supporting CCMA in its mission to deepen and expand campus-community partnerships is the best way I know to extend the reach of service-learning to students all over our region.
How did you make the commitment to make a sustained yearly gift?
“I see the impact CCMA is having and I’m proud of what they’re accomplishing. CCMA is very good at what they do, and their intentions, aspirations, and values are very much in keeping with my own values; it’s just a good fit. Since I’m familiar with most of the schools that first belonged to the Compact–and know many of those people– the network and “community” the Compact forms is particularly meaningful to me. While the scope and impact of CCMA are large, the organization is small enough that communication and the effects of my giving are personal. I know it matters and is helping to change students’ lives.”
How do you view your donation and what would you say to someone who is considering donating?
“Education is what’s going to enable the next generation to succeed and prosper . . . . One of the things that research shows is if you want to predict whether an individual prospers, or whether a nation prospers, the single greatest indicator is educational level. So as an investment in our own future – our country’s future – education is vitally important. Anything that is going to make the educational process more effective or meaningful to the student is perhaps the single wisest investment we can make.”