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Reunion and the New Normal

The NASBA Center for the Public Trust (CPT) team had the pleasure of hosting two new StudentCPT chapter launches this past September. Both Southwest Tennessee Community College (SWTCC) and Alabama State University (ASU) were eager to showcase their excitement and appreciation for what a StudentCPT chapter could do for their fellow students and campus environment.

SWTCC is the first community college to partner with the CPT and serves as a pilot for future community college partnerships. The ASU chapter was formed as part of the CPT’s HBCU initiative, which aims to grow the number of StudentCPT chapters on historically Black college and university campuses across the U.S. With the dynamics that a community college and an HBCU offer, the CPT was eager to embrace each institution with a simple approach; let us come together and remember the importance of face-to-face interaction.

Even with the consideration of time a student would be on campus and not have to return from other daily life activities, providing a meal, and showcasing interactive case studies, to our surprise, SWTCC students filled their chapter kick-off event with excitement and curiosity. For each question that CPT President Alfonzo Alexander received, there was always one more hand eager to pose another. For an hour, SWTCC students did not feel like they were in a lecture or worry about what they had to do when they got home. Instead, they were focused on nurturing their long-forgotten passion to speak up, interact, and engage with their fellow peers.

ASU was no different. In walked professional scholars who were coming from class and would be heading to more after the presentation. The level of brainstorming and rapid-fire debate during and after the speaking engagement showed just how much students missed being in the moment.

This new semester was an important reunion, one that validated just how much it was time to unite.          

New Normal

Going into the fall semester of 2022 for StudentCPT paved the way for how the new normal of the campus environment would look. One of the strongest StudentCPT chapters, Auburn University, led by Aubrey Poorman with chapter advisors Drs. O.C. Ferrell and Linda Ferrell, hosted the CPT President Alfonzo Alexander and Student Programs Manager Jasmine Jenkins on campus for a speaking engagement on Ethical Leadership: True Sustainable Leadership.

The Auburn StudentCPT was a chapter that quickly moved with the times to ensure they would not get lost or forgotten on the important topics of ethics and sustainability. Once a group focused on growing its membership base, the chapter began to realize the impact of guest speakers opening students up to something they may have never known before.

Going go over logistics before our visit, the CPT had a responsibility to understand the dynamic on campus and the best way to properly reach and engage student interests. A hybrid approach was suggested to have the speaking engagement be in person with an optional Zoom link if students could not attend. The team determined this was the most appropriate approach for the new normal.  

When speaking with the Auburn StudentCPT staff, it was conveyed to the team that based on the strong sense of community on campus, it was important to show people the benefit of being present and engaged alongside their peers during the StudentCPT sponsored events. With over 400 students filling up the auditorium, each student in attendance was confident that this is where they needed to be instead being concerned about how crowded it was. There was a sense of importance in the room. Students felt they belonged and were going to leave with more confidence than when they arrived.

There were new faces, familiar faces, young, and seasoned that graced the room with oversharing and varying opinions all happy to be in the same space together like once before but more resilient than ever.         

-Jasmine Jenkins, Student Programs Manager