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Leadership, Community Service Get A Boost at UNCP

April 16, 2002

Melanie ClarkMelanie R. Clark has been hired as the first full-time director of UNC Pembroke's Leadership and Community Service Program.

Ms. Clark is responsible for leadership and community service programs, including assisting with the Distinguished Speaker Series. Additionally, she will work to integrate service learning into the university curriculum.

She was the coordinator of service-learning programs at Purdue University prior to accepting a position with UNCP.

"When students participate in service learning, it opens their eyes to the larger world outside of academia," Ms. Clark said. "Service learning brings communities and students closer together and empowers them with the ability to serve their communities in positive ways."

Ms. Clark will work with Abdul Ghaffar, director of Student Activities.

"We're very proud of our growing three-year-old Leadership and Community Service program," Mr. Ghaffar said. "Melanie has a great interest and background in the development of service-learning programs, and we think she will be an outstanding addition to our staff, our university and our community."

The Leadership and Service Opportunities Program (LSOP) coordinates student volunteers, community service projects and leadership training programs. Students who meet the requirements of the program are awarded a special sash to be worn with their regalia at commencement, and they create a permanent transcript of their accomplishments.

Chancellor Allen C. Meadors said UNCP's leadership programs are playing an important role on campus for students.

"The opportunity for community service and for the development of leadership skills are important part of the college experience," Chancellor Meadors said. "This program benefits our students, and it brings the university and its surrounding communities closer together."

"The Distinguished Speaker Series has been very successful in exposing our students and the community to a variety world-class leaders," Chancellor Meadors said. "It is appropriate and advantageous to put this series under the Leadership and Community Service Program.

An Indiana native, Ms. Clark received her undergraduate degree from Depauw University and a Master's of Social Work from the University of Denver.

She has worked as a tutor, case manager, counselor and development coordinator in a variety of youth programs. Ms. Clark also developed and coordinated service-learning programs for the Catholic Charities of Denver, Colo.

Ms. Clark has enjoyed her immersion into university life.

"I am very impressed by how friendly everyone is at UNCP," she said. "What they say about Southern hospitality is true."

"This is a great opportunity for me to develop service-learning programs and to help bring the university and community closer together," Ms. Clark said. "I appreciate the diversity of the student population on this campus and the varied experiences the students have to offer."