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Grand Strand organizations invited to go ‘speed dating’ at collaborative luncheon at CCU

February 2, 2018
Student Health Services director Caesar Ross III at the Campus and Community Collaborative at CCU.College of Science Dean Michael Roberts speaks at the Campus and Community Collaborative.Faculty and nonprofit organizations attend the Campus and Community Collaborative at CCU.

Special dates don’t have to occur just on Valentine’s Day; on Thursday, Feb. 15, at Coastal Carolina University, Grand Strand organizations and faculty members have the opportunity to go on some dates of their own.

The Campus and Community Research Collaborative (CCRC), an event designed to bring together research faculty and regional nonprofit organizations to form mutually beneficial partnerships, runs from 8:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 15 in the Lib Jackson Student Union and includes a keynote speaker, two breakout sessions and the signature “speed-dating” luncheon. Faculty, members of area nonprofit organizations and others are welcome to attend the event in part or in its entirety; pre-registration is required and is underway.

“The struggle as research faculty to find participants and connect with community organizations is part of what led to the original idea,” said Miranda Brenneman, assistant professor of psychology at CCU who coordinates the speed-dating portion of the event. “The ‘speed-dating’ format was an idea I proposed tongue in cheek, but has been surprisingly popular and effective at getting faculty/staff and community members to make meaningful connections!”

The biannual event, in its fifth year, is sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Emerging Initiatives and the Office of the Provost at CCU.

“Given CCU’s mission of service in the community, it is important to identify opportunities when faculty/staff/student expertise can help with community initiatives,” said Michael Roberts, dean of the College of Science and vice president for research and emerging initiatives at CCU. “Also, with our focus on experiential learning, this program helps students engage with, and work on, real-world issues. It’s a complete and total win-win for everybody.”

The keynote speaker is Stuart Williams, a business strategist who has spent the past eight years helping private or public ecosystems embrace the business, investment, humanitarian and environmental thesis of “Making a Profit While Making a Difference,” an integrated approach to social entrepreneurship that he founded in 1993, the same year he co-founded and became president and CEO of the Strategic Research Institute. Williams is an impact entrepreneur in residence at the College of Charleston.

Past keynote speakers have included Monair McGregor, Ph.D., from the American Cancer Society; Kimberly Harmon with the Waccamaw Area Office of Aging; and Nicholas Davidson from the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

The first breakout session will be led by Karen Maguire, a CCU professor of accounting, and will address the topic “Incorporating Volunteer Capacity into Nonprofit Financial Reporting.” The second breakout will be led by John Kenny and Jan Silverman, of the Georgetown and Conway innovation centers, respectively, and is titled “Nonprofit Entrepreneurs?” Both breakouts include question-and-answer sessions.

The speed-dating luncheon is the final event of the CCRC, a timed event that allows attendees to introduce themselves to others and explain who they are, what they do and what their needs are in a small-group format. Once the time is up, the groups switch and do it all over again. A “match book” is also made available to all attendees in order to help streamline communication.

“With the match book, attendees can identify people or organizations that they want to be sure to talk with during the event,” said Brenneman.

Attendees are able to sign up for any or all of the CCRC events when they register at The Lib Jackson Student Union is located at 100 Spadoni Park Circle on the main Conway campus. For more information, visit the website, or contact Brenneman at 843-349-4035 or or Amy Edmunds at 843-349-2441 or

Watch a video that explains more about the event and shares stories of those who have attended and benefited directly from it here.