Skip to main content

Fitz Center for Leadership in Community

We're Making News

Read about the local, regional and national engagement of our staff and students:

The Midwest Region Campus Compacts are pleased to announce 12 faculty and staff selected as 2019-2020 Engaged Scholars. Included in this first cohort of scholars is Castel Sweet, Coordinator, Community Engaged Learning and Scholarship in the Fitz Center for Leadership in Community.

The goal of the Engaged Scholars Initiative is to select a small cohort of scholars and scholar-practitioners who represent professional, demographic, institutional, and geographic diversity. The initiative seeks to develop, support and connect leaders who can advance co-created knowledge, critically engaged pedagogies, institutional change, and collaborative action to address societal issues.

Scholars were selected from a highly competitive pool of nominated candidates from the Midwest Region. Scholars were nominated by college and university presidents and chief academic officers. The 2019-2020 scholars represent 9 institutions from 12 states, and a variety of roles on their campus connected to civic and community engagement.

“Campus Compact is thrilled to welcome the first cohort of the Midwest Region Engaged Scholars Initiative,” said Marisol Morales, Vice President for Network Leadership at Campus Compact. “The interest in the program and the caliber and diversity of all the applicants was extraordinary. The goal of this program is to develop and support equity-minded community engaged scholars and practitioners who can shape the future of this field. I believe that we move a step closer to achieving that goal with this inaugural cohort.”

Selected scholars will participate in an 18-month ongoing learning and leadership process which includes professional development, collaboration, and scholarship to help the individual participants and the cohort strengthen their scholarship, research, and impact. Scholars will participate in in-person and online learning opportunities, including retreats, regular meetings, and the Midwest Region Campus Compact Conference, which is taking place in May 2019 in Minneapolis, MN.

About Castel Sweet:

Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Castel Sweet is a sociologist who explores the intricacies of community, culture, and race. Both for herself and those whom she has the privilege to engage with, Castel encourages the unknown to be explored, endeavors to make the unfamiliar familiar, and seeks to cultivate relationships that are transformational instead of transactional.

She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice/Criminology from Hampton University in 2012. Thereafter, she earned a Master of Arts in Sociology from Louisiana State University in 2014 and continued on to complete her doctorate degree in Sociology at LSU in 2017. Her dissertation research explored hip hop and rap artists’ embeddedness in local communities, and their interpretation of the connectedness between their work and their communities. During her time at LSU, Castel was involved in various curricular and co-curricular activities including teaching an undergraduate service-learning social work course. Outside of the classroom, she participated in numerous community service related programs and initiatives.

As a graduate assistant in LSU’s College of Humanities and Social Science Office of Social Service Research & Development, Castel assisted with the planning and implementation of a $1.5 million grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health, for a three-year afterschool and summer program for African-American males. In addition, she served as the Community Outreach Director for LSU’s Geaux BIG Baton Rouge and served as the Focus Area Director for Volunteer LSU. Being a cultural enthusiast, Castel loves to travel and has participated and mentored national and international cross-cultural immersion service trips. During the last year of graduate school, she was awarded a Distinguished Graduate Assistantship which allowed her to live in Abu Dhabi, UAE. As part of the assistantship, Castel worked with The Petroleum Institute’s student affairs staff, helping to reorganize their student groups and organizations, and created student leadership trainings and workshops for both the male and female campuses.

Castel is currently the Coordinator of Community Engaged Learning and Scholarship in the Fitz Center for Community Leadership, where she coordinates co-curricular community engagement programming and provides support for the development of community-engaged learning courses and initiatives. Primarily, Castel manages a semester-long co-curricular community engaged learning program where students take a sabbatical from traditional courses and are placed at community organizations working full-time providing direct support to social service agencies throughout the city of Dayton. Complimenting student’s experience in the community, Castel facilitates a course focused on student’s understanding of social and systemic impacts on communities with the goal of increasing their ability to become actively engaged in social change throughout their lives.

About Campus Compact:

Campus Compact is a national coalition of 1000+ colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. Campus Compact supports institutions in fulfilling their public purposes by deepening their ability to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility. As the largest national higher education association dedicated solely to campus-based civic engagement, they provide professional development to administrators and faculty to enable them to engage effectively, facilitate national partnerships connecting campuses with key issues in their local communities, build pilot programs to test and refine promising models in engaged teaching and scholarship, celebrate and cultivate student civic leadership, and convene higher education institutions and partners beyond higher education to share knowledge and develop collective capacity. Visit

Read our College Newsroom blog story >

Fitz Center staff member Karlos Marshall, co-founder of a local nonprofit that has distributed more than 30,000 free books in the Miami Valley and beyond was named to Forbes magazine's 30 Under 30 list. Read the story (www).

Senior Katherine Liming (CMM / POL) is a 2018 awardee of the Charles J. Ping Student Service Award. Sponsored by Ohio Campus Compact (OCC), this award was designed to recognize and honor undergraduate students for their outstanding leadership and contributions to community service or service-learning on their campus and within their community.  Learn more (www).

The Andrew Goodman Foundation recently sat down with three Vote Everywhere Ambassadors: Adam Reynolds from the University of Chicago, Katherine Liming from the University of Dayton, and Leivis Rodriguez from Miami Dade College, to discuss youth civic engagement following the recent shooting in Parkland Florida. The discussion highlighted how youth engagement is constantly evolving, why students should continue to stay involved, and how the legacy of past youth movements has made way for this moment in American history. Read the story here. 

The University of Dayton received two awards this month at a national conference that attracted more than 500 student leaders to the University campus to learn and share best practices about community service and civic engagement. The University of Dayton Summer Appalachia Program received Impact’s Service Program of the Year Award, which recognizes campus-based programs that model student-led direct community service that have in some way contributed to making their campus and communities a better place for everyone. Fitz Center Executive Director Hunter Phillips Goodman received the John Sarvey Administrator of the Year Award, which honors the life of one of Impact’s founders, who died in 2012. It recognizes a college administrator who exemplifies a commitment to its mission and values through significant, continued service and leadership. Read a recent news story for more information.

For interviews, contact Meagan Pant, assistant director of news and communications, at or 937-229-3256.


Getting residential  students out to vote is a goal of the Andrew Goodman Foundation’s Vote Everywhere program. Learn about University of Dayton student involvement in this program. >

Seventy University of Dayton students captured the experiences and challenges of living in Dayton by interviewing local residents as part of a national community storytelling project intended to bring awareness about local human rights issues to inspire social action. Read story >

Learn about the involvement of Art and Design students in the Facing Project and their exhibition at SPHR#17. Description and images >

The Inaugural Address of Eric F. Spina, 19th president of the University of Dayton, April 4, 2017. Read Dr. Spina's Address >

Students in the River Stewards program study waterways through an international lens with the course Socio-Economic Change in China: A Case Study of Suzhou and its Waters, taught by President Emeritus Dan Curran. Read story >

National Geographic highlighted the City of Dayton, the Great Miami River, Five Rivers Fountain of Lights and the River Stewards in their blog Water Current on Nov. 1, 2016. Read story >

The executive director of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! program was the keynote speaker Friday, Oct. 14, at a statewide conference at the University of Dayton aimed at connecting college students to public service careers in Ohio. Read story >

Members of the Fitz Center's Dayton Civic Scholars show their support for the City of Dayton's recent approval of the proposal to create a free music venue in Downtown Dayton. Read story >

Jessica Kerr, an intern for the Fitz Center's Community Engaged Learning program, won first place and $25,000 for her idea for Aer, an at-home lung function monitor in the University of Dayton's 10th annual Business Plan Competition. Jessica was a May 2016 graduate in marketing and entrepreneurship from the School of Business Administration. Read story >

The Rivers Institute in the News


August 17, 2015: UD News Story: "Art and Sustainability." >>

August 18, 2015: "Michael Bashaw, Sustainability Artist-in-Residence." >>


May 8, 2013 WDTN Channel 2: "River Mobile Education" >>

March 16, 2013 Dayton Dayton News: "Cities view Pittsburgh as model for riverfront growth." >>

March 15, 2013 WYSO: "University of Dayton Unveils Mobile Learning Studio." >>

WHIO Channel 7: "RiverMobile." >>

WDTN Channel 2: "RiverMobile." >>

WDTN Channel 2: "UD River Mobile stewards discuss what the museum teaches kids." >>

January 15 2013 AASHE Bulletin: "U Dayton Creates Exhibit to Teach Students About Water Resources." >>


December 12, 2012 UD Quickly: "Five Rivers 18 Wheels." >>

December 9, 2012 University of Dayton Video: "Five Rivers 18 Wheels." >>

September 2012 91.3 WYSO Radio Show: "Eco-Artist Basia Irland Visits Dayton." >>

Wednesday March 28, 2012 Dayton Daily News article: "Fifth Annual River Summit at UD Thursday." >>

Thursday March 29, 2012 Dayton Daily News article: "New river developments, projects planned for 2012." >>

Thursday March 29, 2012 Channel 2 News: "Rivers could be big for business, Annual River Summit held at U.D." >>


September issue of University of Dayton Magazine: "A river runs through it." >>

September 15, 2011 Dayton Most Metro Website: "UD students focus on the river as art." >>

August 18, 2011 Dayton Daily News article: "River trip inspires UD students." >>

March 20, 2011 Hamilton Journal News article: "River Summit to look at development, recreation." >>

March 19, 2011 Dayton Daily News article: "River Summit slated at UD." >>


April 20, 2010 Dayton Daily News Op-Ed: "Develop the river and everybody wins." >>

April 18, 2010 Dayton Daily News Op-Ed: "River's Power Hasn't Been Tapped." >>


Fitz Center for Leadership in Community

1401 S. Main Street
Dayton, Ohio 45409