Marcy Fink Campos took over as the new director of the Community Service Center Aug. 9, replacing Karyn Casella, who left the position for family reasons after 10 years of service.
“[Cassella] did a great job building a strong institution,” Campos said.
Campos’ new job will include overseeing all campus community service projects, among them the Eagle Endowment and the Freshman Service Experience, as well as other one-day community service events at AU.
Chitra Subramanian, a graduate student who has worked in the Community Service Center since last January, said that she was sad to see Cassella go, but that it was “nice to have a refreshing perspective” and someone with a “diversity of background.”
Campos received her undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan and a master’s in education and an education specialist degree in the evaluation of social programs from Stanford University.
After graduate school, she traveled extensively in Latin America while working for the Overseas Educational Fund International. There, she coordinated an educational program, which helped strengthen community-based organizations and promote women’s participation.
After traveling back to the United States, Campos worked with a variety of national nonprofit organizations. She was also an adjunct professor at AU’s School of Education. Her earlier, positive experience at AU was one of the reasons that she decided to return, she said.
Dean of Students Faith Leonard said three finalists for the position visited campus after a local, regional and national search. Leonard said t the decision was especially difficult because “this position is extremely important.”
Campos was selected due to her familiarity with working in the nonprofit sector in D.C., her long career in community service, her background in education and her previous experience at AU, Leonard said.
Amy Hendrick, who has worked full-time in the Community Service Center since May, said that Campos “has a lot of experience” and that she was glad to have a director back in the office.
Campos decided to come to AU partly because community service is such a big part of student life. She also feels that her experiences in the nonprofit sector will help her to connect the student population with similar organizations in the future.
“I am very excited and honored to be here,” Campos said about her new position. “It is an exceptional program.”
She added that the staff has been very welcoming.
Campos accompanied the Freshman Service Experience Press Corps on a daily run to witness students volunteering throughout the three-day program.
Campos was especially impressed to see students performing “weed extraction” while cleaning up a community park, washing cars, cataloging books for an community library and documenting people’s personal stories about living life with breast cancer. She called the experience a great introduction into her new job as well as an “incredible tribute” to the community.
Both Leonard and Campos said that a new focus will be to expand the Community Service Learning Program.
Campos said that through this program, she would help professors offer credit to students who participate in community service projects. Of course, these projects will have to work in conjunction with the students’ classroom learning, she said.
“[This will benefit students] actively seeking a meaningful experience through applying new skills in nonprofit or community settings,” Campos said.
Another specified goal for Campos is to work closely in conjunction with other clubs on campus. She believes that this partnership will not only spread volunteer involvement, but will also help the Community Service Center to reflect campus diversity.
For example, in October during Hispanic Heritage Month, the Community Service Center and the Latino and American Student Organization will co-sponsor a day of service with Latino community-based organizations in the Columbia Heights and Mt. Pleasant neighborhoods of D.C.
The center has evolved over the past 10 years when Cassella worked there, Leonard said, and she is excited for its future.