Simona Botti, Associate Professor, Marketing, is the chair of the new Community Engagement Working Group (CEWG), a cross-School body, endorsed by the Dean. We caught up with Simona to find out more.
1. Why has the School set up the Community Engagement Working Group (CEWG)?
The School’s intention was to create a strategic framework for our community engagement activities. Making a social impact has become increasingly important to different stakeholders such as student, faculty, staff, and alumni. As a result, there are many initiatives going on around campus quite independently of each other. We aim to synthesise and guide these activities in a way that will add value to our brand and our community.
2. Who came up with the idea and how did you get it off the ground?
The concept of a School-wide community engagement programme has been gathering momentum for several years. Last summer, Tina Clark, Chair of the Community Action Group, presented a proposal to Executive Committee. The suggestion to create a dedicated, high profile group to drive the community engagement agenda was approved and CEWG was born.
3. What do you mean by “community engagement”?
Any activity that enhances our relationship with, and contributes to the well-being of, communities other than our own. These activities include, for example, volunteering, social entrepreneurship, and research.
4. Why does it matter?
Internally, it enriches the experience of staff, faculty and students, and it contributes to our mission of making an impact in the real world. Externally, it can differentiate our offer, improve alumni relationships, and overall enhance our reputation and brand.
5. Is the CEWG replacing the Community Action Group (CAG?)
No, the CAG is separate. Its role is to promote staff volunteering which is just one aspect of community engagement. The CEWG has a broader, strategic remit.
6. How can staff, students and faculty get help?
We need as many people as possible to complete this survey to help us build up a full picture of community engagement activities around the School.
7. How will you decide which community initiatives or causes to support through CEWG?
In consultation with key stakeholders. We want to ensure that all these activities are coherent, closely linked to our mission, and add measurable value.
8. What inspired you to chair the group?
This is something I feel passionately about. My own community engagement activities have been important learning experiences and I am proud to belong to an organization that considers these types of activities as a part of its identity.