The LBJ school recently gave Casa a much appreciated donation, and we spoke to them to learn more about their community efforts and how this idea came about!

Tell us a little about the LBJ School’s Community Outreach Committee

The LBJ School’s Community Outreach Committee is part of the Graduate Public Affairs Council and comprised of four student members: Brittain Ayres, Nathan Fennell, Erin Smith, and Lindsey Zischkale. The committee is chaired by a director, student Courtney Weldon. We organize community service events and build relationships with community organizations. Our responsibilities include:

– facilitating community service activities at which LBJ students volunteer their services for the betterment of the greater community, and

– building relationships with community organizations who share common interests with the LBJ School such as professional organizations, non-profits, advocacy organizations, and political organizations.

How did the LBJ School’s Community Outreach Committee hear about Casa?

The Community Outreach Committee and other LBJ students were familiar with Casa Marianella’s important work already. Those new to the mission were pleased to learn more about the organization via its website.

What compelled the school to donate- how did this idea come about?

This year the Community Outreach Committee elected to hold a clothing drive after winter break, allowing students traveling home the opportunity to clean out their closets and gather items from family and friends. This was the first year that the benefiting organization was selected by electronic voting by theLBJ community as a whole. We provided our peers with a list of potential local organizations, giving a brief description of their mission and pointing to their websites to encourage voters to learn more – and Casa Marianella was our winner.

Why do you believe it is important for the school and students to be involved with nonprofits like Casa?

For many of us, President Johnson’s message of public service was a driving force in our decision to pursue graduate studies here at the LBJ School. As public policy students, community engagement is essential to our personal and professional development. Recognizing the needs of our community and giving back to support those immediate needs is a profound responsibility.

Understanding and appreciating the impact of immigration and foreign policies here in the US and abroad strengthens both our learning experience inside the classroom and our career paths that follow.

Was the outcome positive? Will the LBJ School’s Community Outreach Committee like to stay involved with Casa in the future?

Yes! We were overwhelmingly pleased with the results. Bags upon bags upon boxes of items – some new, others gently used – were gifted to Casa. Their staff was very grateful for our involvement. We look forward to encouraging peers toward Casa volunteer opportunities in the future.