Courage and optimism are at the heart of our efforts to create deeply engaged learning experiences for students, while also making a positive impact in the community. The Bennion Center fosters innovation by seeking to learn and engage through respectful, inclusive collaboration.
We build learning communities by creating a safe space for diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences. We work to communicate honestly and with integrity, and to treat others with compassion and understanding.
We believe in the power of collaboration and collective impact as we seek to create deeply engaged learning experiences and meet the needs of our communities.. We seek strong and genuine partnerships that enable all to work toward a common purpose.
We recognize the power of educational exchange through community engagement. We understand the ability of this teaching and learning process to foster a deeper understanding of our world, its issues and its people. We make use of best practices for program development, assessment, and professional growth.
Bennion Center History
Focus on Community Needs
The Lowell Bennion Community Service Center was dedicated in 1987 by Chase Peterson, President of the University of Utah. He stated, “No university can rest merely with the transmission of old or the generation of new knowledge. It must also help students reach out to larger opportunities and responsibilities. That is what the Bennion Center is all about.”
Students have been doing just that – directing projects designed to address an identified community need, usually in partnership with an existing public or private agency. Projects that served elderly people, youth, and special populations were among the first programs offered, and still provide the bulk of our volunteer opportunities.
The Bennion Center adheres to a team approach to recruiting and training students, and selecting issues on which to focus. Student leadership resulted in the growth of volunteer participation from 546 to 1,409 volunteers in the first year. Today, more than 8,500 Bennion Center volunteers dedicate more than 175,000 hours of community service each year..
The Bennion Center continues to focus on making connections with agency partners, engaging faculty in the emerging pedagogy of community engagement, promoting civic engagement campus-wide, and strengthening the community engaged scholars program.
While new ideas and innovative strategies to implement them are flourishing, the Bennion Center continues to model itself on the life its namesake, Lowell Bennion, who embodied respect for all people, believed in social and economic justice for all, and acted tirelessly on his beliefs.