Becoming a good campus or community Partner

by cpagano
(reading level: 13)
(read time: 9-14 min.)
(views: 978)
(age rating: for all audiences)

Author's Note: This is a structured, discussion-based activity designed for a workshop setting. Components may be adapted easily for other settings.

Main ideas: helping, community, Training, PHENND

Summary: This workshop is designed to help participants think about campus-community partnerships.



PHENND Training Series


Becoming a Good Campus or Community

Partner: Trainers Guide


Overview:                   Thinking about community partnership in a new light often helps individuals create, develop, manage, and evaluate their partnerships in more meaningful and effective ways. This workshop is designed to help participants think about campus-community partnership in the context of a marriage or other romantic relationship. Participants will brainstorm elements of good and bad personal relationships and then project those qualities onto service-based partnerships. Participants will also formulate a list of best practices for campus-community partnership as they re-think their own partnerships based on this new perspective. Finally, participants will be given an evaluation tool to help them assess the quality of their partnerships.


Level:                         Beginner to Moderate


Type:                          This is a structured, discussion-based activity designed for a workshop setting. Components may be adapted easily for other settings.



To begin to think of campus-community partnerships like personal relationships which need care, respect, and genuine desire in order to be lasting and effective.

To use the language of personal relationships to help one describe campus-community partnerships.

To become more sensitive, caring, and respectful campus or community partners.



Chalkboard and chalk or newsprint with markers and an easel (preferably the sticky kind so you can remove sheets and stick them on the walls around you.)

Photocopies of the headlines/titles of several relationship quizzes and personal advice columns from magazines like Seventeen and Cosmopolitan.

A big plastic jug


How to Prepare:      In preparation for the activity, the trainer should prepare a list of items for each brainstorming session in case the audience does not give him/her all of the responses that are sought.



Brief Outline:            This activity begins with introductions and an icebreaker designed to shift participants’ thinking away from community service and higher education to marriage and personal relationships. Participants then do some large group brainstorming about relationships. The trainer presents the “Campus-Community Partnership Family Tree.” In small group or in pairs, participants tell stories about their own campus-community partnerships but using the language of a relationship. This is followed by large group discussion about reactions to that activity. The workshop closes with a warp-up discussion about the best practices of partnership.


1) Introductions

2) Icebreaker: Dear Abby activity

3) Brainstorming Activity

4) The Campus-Community Partnership Family Tree

5) Small Group Talk: Kiss and Tell

6) Wrap-up



Part 1) Introductions

Suggested time: 3 minutes


Introduce yourself and then ask people to do the same. Depending on the audience ask them to identify themselves by name as well as group affiliation.


Part 2) Icebreaker: Dear Abby activity

Suggested time: 10 minutes (depends on the size of the group)


For this activity you will need to prepare photocopies of relationship advice columns such as Dear Abby, or any of those quizzes in Cosmo, Seventeen, etc. Make 2 copies of each article, with enough total for everyone. Place all of the copies in a jar and mix them up. For the icebreaker, everyone will pick one article from the jar and have to find the other person who has the identical article.


Part 3) Brainstorming Activity

Suggested time: 20 minutes


Segue into part 3 by letting everyone know that they had articles from relationship advice columns. Tell them that the reason for this activity was not only to get everyone to get up and get to know the other participants, but also to switch gears and start thinking about personal relationships.


Using the flipchart, ask audience members to brainstorm about four aspects of personal relationships:


Different stages of a of relationships



Holding hands




Signs of a good relationship

Open communication

Both partners like being around one another

Responsibilities are shared equally





Why relationships fail

No communication

Different expectations

One partner abuses the other (emotionally)

People grow apart

Too many outside stresses (money, unexpected children)

One partner stifles the other

Your pet peeves about your partner (or ex-partner)

Don’t really listen to me when I’m talking

Doesn’t respect my work, interests, desires, values

Always expects that I’ll call everyday

Doesn’t put the cap back on the toothpaste


Part 4) Campus-Community Partnership Family Tree

Suggested time: 20 minutes


Pass out “Campus-Community Partnership Family Tree” diagram. Explain that while this is overly simplified (and probably a bit too Ozzie and Harriet) it can be a useful tool for understanding campus-community partnerships. On the back side is a guide that shows what different aspects of campus-community partnerships are analogous to in a personal relationship.


Ask people to talk in small groups to tell stories about their service partnerships, but using the language of a personal romantic relationship. After a few minutes, re-focus everyone to the larger group.


Ask people to think about the stories they just told or heard. Also, refer back to the brainstorming sheet on “signs of a good relationship.” What are some elements of good practice of campus-community partnerships?


Do another brainstorming sessions to generate a list of best practices based on “best practices of campus-community partnership.”


• Talk on the phone at least once a week; Meet face to face bi-weekly

• Be clear about what each side hopes to get out of the relationship, as well as what each side expects to give

• Come to a consensus on what success is

• Recognize and be open about power dynamics (i.e. why was community organization equated to “woman” and campus equated to “man” on the flip side of the Family Tree?)



Part 5) Wrap-up

Suggested time: 5 minutes

Answer any other lingering questions people may have about partnership.



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