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In a presentation to the faculty October 13, President Steven Timmermans emphasized his goal to promote service-learning as a vital component of higher education at Trinity. During his tenure at Calvin College, he participated in a service-learning program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and he outlined some of the results of that work at the faculty meeting. 

Timmermans described how the combined efforts of colleges and federal agencies could have a positive impact on distressed communities in urban areas through the Community Outreach Partnership Center (COPC), a HUD initiative that helps colleges and universities utilize human, intellectual, and institutional resources to revitalize those communities.

"COPC grants help colleges partner with communities for teaching, service and outreach," Timmermans said. "As communities rebuild their identities, colleges invest in the academic development of their students."

HUD launched its cooperative in 1994 to spur more collaboration between institutions of higher education and their neighboring communities. The agency recognized that colleges and universities serve as economic engines, major employers, and creative innovators. COPC is a five-year demonstration program whose grants must be used in urban areas to address issues such as housing, health care, job training, education, and crime prevention.

"The call to engagement and the posture of partnership are the keys to COPC's efforts," Timmermans said. "This program could help propel us into a concentrated service-learning focus."

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