Center for Social Impact Awarded UServeUtah Grant

The UVU Center for Social Impact (CSI) received a $9,000 grant from UServeUtah that will be used to create a youth civic engagement program.


The UVU Center for Social Impact (CSI) received a $9,000 grant from UServeUtah that will be used to create a youth civic engagement program. This program will apply ethnic studies curriculum, the six pathways of social impact, and equity-centered design methodologies to help increase Utahns’ participation in community and civic engagement.

“Utah County is in the midst of an economic and demographic shift which, if not taken under consideration, will leave our most vulnerable communities behind,” said Tino Diaz, program director of impact engagement design at the CSI. “Increasing awareness and engagement with civic education is directly tied into available access and persistence with higher education.”

With the goal to give BIPOC high school students a better understanding of civic engagement and how they can address issues of public concern as youth, this new program will benefit both the participants and the Utah Valley community.

The program will launch in two phases, with the first phase starting this fall. It will include aLatinos in Action class at Orem High School that introduces students to ethnic studies, the six pathways of social impact, and equity-centered designs.

“This first phase is a way to build awareness of civic issues that historically have and continue to marginalize specific communities in Utah,” Diaz said. “The six pathways, which are also promoted by the CSI, offer mediums in which students can put into practice what they learn, and equity-centered design presents students with the tools for civic engagement, such as systems mapping and design thinking.”

The second phase of the program launches in spring 2022 and will allow students to apply their newfound knowledge about civic engagement to create potential solutions to specific social problems of their choosing. Each group will focus on one of the six pathways of social impact. They’ll have access to experts on each topic they choose and will be encouraged to consult with them as they work toward mapping out their solution.

The program will wrap up with a catered dinner at UVU. Participating students, their families, and key leaders at local schools, universities, and cities will join together to review the selected public concerns and the students’ proposed solutions.

“Our initiative and goals are a fresh approach to increasing community engagement in Utah, particularly among BIPOC youth,” Diaz said. “By combining the curricular potential of ethnic studies as a foundational learning mode with the tools and skills of equity-centered design, we can offer a cohort experience that could form pathways toward local higher education opportunities that motivate and improve civic awareness and engagement.”

About the Center for Social Impact (CSI)

The CSI provides curricular, cocurricular, and extracurricular student experiences in six diverse pathways of social impact. Whether a student, faculty, or community member, all are invited to participate in various programs and events, volunteer or recruit volunteers, and enhance academic experience through the CSI’s coursework and scholar distinction. 

The CSI offers a variety of events, programs, academic opportunities, and connections to community partner organizations and basic needs resources. Regardless of discipline or interest, there is something for every student at UVU who wants to make an impact.