Jo Buckley and Nevan Mandel pave new pathways in SLiCE

Austin Fleskes

With a large number of people going in and out of the Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement office at Colorado State University, many unique projects are going on at all times. 

This large organization of people includes two individuals in the SLiCE office who are part of projects that are leading community engagement projects in the Fort Collins and CSU community: Nevan Mandel and Jo Buckley.

Ad

Nevan Mandel, a third year Political Sciences major, ended up at CSU after transferring from the University of Colorado, because his mom works for CSU.

He ended up in the SLiCE office after a colleague left SLiCE, leaving the job duties to Mandel. Currently, Mandel is the Addressing Poverty Coordinator for the SLiCE office. 

“Most of SLiCE is run by department, and I’m kind of my own department,” Mandel said. 

As the Addressing Poverty Coordinator, Mandel is tasked with a number of jobs. He is in charge of finding students who are passionate about creating change around poverty, find potential things to address poverty on campus and connecting students to other organizers and collaborators, so students can act on passions that most interest them. 

Mandel and the SLiCE office also put on multiple different events to discuss poverty in Fort Collins.

“When you think about big problems, they are often separate from you,” Mandel said. “But we are talking about people. Poverty is nothing if not right there. With all of those events, we try to make it really hands on.” 

November is Homeless Action and Awareness Month, because of Mandel’s efforts, and includes different speakers and events to discuss poverty.

Project Homeless Connect, another one of Mandel’s projects, is coming up on April 13. This event brings together student participants and those in the community stricken by poverty to create conversation and community, as well as provide assistance. 

“We can’t figure out what those problems are if we don’t talk about them,” Mandel said. “We are providing a new depth that you don’t get to in volunteering.”

Mandel explained this work is important to him because this entire thing is about sustainability. 

Ad

“I know that I have been afforded a lot of privileges throughout my life,” Mandel said. “But if you don’t act on those privileges to build a foundation underneath you, then soon enough you won’t have them.”

Another member of the SLiCE office, Jo Buckley, a senior international studies major came to CSU because of the international studies program and the feel of the university.

Buckley ended up at the SLiCE office after becoming a President’s Leadership Program scholar, as her volunteer for PLP was added to the SLiCE program, which Buckley has overseen for the last three years. 

Currently, Buckley is the Public Achievement Coordinator. She coordinates with CSU volunteers who go to local high schools, or stay at CSU, to teach the civic engagement process through service learning projects.

“Public achievement as a whole is really cool, because there are a lot of high school students who know what problems are going in their world and have a lot of expertise and a lot of buy in to why these things go on and want to see a change in their community but are not sure how to go about it,” Buckley said. 

Buckley added that the program is important to her because it empowers people in the community as well as students at CSU. 

“I think that’s really important moving forward in our world, that we see all of ourselves as agents of change,” Buckley said. “Don’t leave it for someone else, or leave it until we’re older, or leave it until we have a lot of money. But understand that community growth and building happens daily by the relationships we make and the values we uphold. I think all times in history can be a critical time for this kind of education.”

Both Buckley and Mandel said students interested in either of these programs should come into the SLiCE office to gather more information and learn about ways to get involved.

Collegian reporter Austin Fleskes can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @Austinfleskes07.