Director for Community-Engaged Learning
Background: B.S. in Horticulture and a B.A. in History from Kansas State University.
Hometown: Lindsborg, KS
Hobbies: Fishing, Camping, Backpacking, Mountain Biking.
How did you end up in Slippery Rock?
We [Jeffery and his wife] moved to Minnesota, and I was already kind of leaning towards community engagement. I did it in the Peace Corps, and I did it in Study Abroad, so service learning was already kind of calling to me. In Minnesota, I was the Director of their office at Gustavus Adolphus College for eight years, which was kind of a small private liberal arts college. And from there, I came to Slippery Rock. I contributed everything that I could at Gustavus, and I wanted to start an office, and Slippery Rock had the opportunity to build one from the ground up, and I found that very exciting.
What is your favorite thing about Slippery Rock?
My favorite thing about the borough is probably our house.
My wife and I live here, right next to the university. We love our house. It’s a modest two-story house. We have this great backyard. We have a fire pit, so sometimes we’ll have a bonfire and sit out there while listening to music.
What does community mean to you?
Community to me really means a sense of belonging to a place or a group. That’s really how I think about it. I also think that community changes over one’s lifetime. It means different things to different people. It can be a sense of belonging or commitment to friends, family, a group, a cause, it’s a very broad definition. In community engagement, we talk a lot about purpose in our work, so I also think of it in that sense as well. It’s the sense of belonging to something much bigger than one’s self. It’s a shared purpose.
Do you have a favorite memory of a library?
A couple things come to mind. One might come to you as a strange response, but as a kid, they say that memory is tied to smell.
One of the things I remember the most about libraries was how they smelled. It wasn’t a bad scent, it just smelled like books. That's actually my fondest memory. I miss the smell of the library. It was one of those things where my mom would drop me off at the library with a friend and we’d spend four or five hours there reading.
What is your favorite thing about the SRCL?
What I love most about it is that it’s a Bonner site placement.
Just the fact that we’re able to partner with the library through a Bonners, which right now are you [Jaeden Chapman] and Elli Manalang.
Jeffrey: I did not! I saw that in your email and I knew that it was supported by donations, but I didn’t know that it was funded entirely by donations. So there’s no city funding or anything like that?
Jaeden: There’s no city funding, no government funding, it’s all from the community and people that are invested in the functionality of the library. One thing Karen always says to me is “This is a testament to what we do here. We wouldn’t be here if they didn’t want us to be”, which is entirely true. Seeing as we are dependent upon them to function, then we quite literally would not be here.