skip to Main Content
.
A Heart For Helping Others
Sophomore Roxanne Heston wears a scarf and pin from South Africa after returning from an international conference in that country on civic engagement in higher education. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

A smiling photo of Roxanne Heston leads off her LinkedIn page, above these words: “I’m Roxanne, a happily hectic sophomore at Tulane University with my head in economics and business, and my heart in helping others.”

It’s the latter part — the dedication to service — that led to her being one of 40 undergraduate students from around the world to attend the Talloires Network Leadership Conference in Cape Town, South Africa, on Dec. 2 to 4. The conference focused on civic engagement in higher education as well as the development of positive, reciprocal relationships between academia and communities.

She and the other conference participants — students, faculty and administrators from 23 countries — shared experiences and models for civic engagement, identified ways to improve their work and developed collective action plans for all of the attending universities.

The conference also focused on overcoming the “ivory tower,” in which academia can be distant and disconnected from the communities that it exists in or studies.

This disconnect can often lead to failed initiatives, she said, given that even the best ideas require a profound understanding of the issue at hand and close engagement with the community involved.

Heston believes that there is a “unique and underutilized intersection between the knowledge and capacities of institutions and the knowledge and capacity of projects working on economic development, environmental protection and other issues.”

Heston believes that there is a “unique and underutilized intersection between the knowledge and capacities of institutions and the knowledge and capacity of projects working on economic development, environmental protection and other issues.”

She plans to bring innovative strategies for civic engagement back to Tulane after the conference. In her role as a service learning assistant at the Center for Public Service and leader of Tulane Effective Altruists, she is eager to “break down the us-them dynamic that often typifies service in New Orleans, escape the infamous Tulane bubble, and feel like the service we are doing is truly a service to the community.”

Heston also was elected as one of two students leading the Talloires Network student working group. She attended the conference with Agnieszka Nance, interim executive director at CPS.

Originally posted by The New Wave. Written by Hannah Dean, a sophomore majoring in Latin American studies and political science at Tulane University.

×Close search
Search