Aligning Equity, Engagement, and Social Innovation in Anchor Initiatives


  • Esteban del Rio University of San Diego
  • John Loggins University of San Diego



joining, EDI, equity, diversity, anchor mission, inclusion, epistemology, self-reflection, cultural change


Drawing on cultural studies and the practice of engaged learning and scholarship, this paper proposes a cultural approach to institutional transformation, which we argue necessarily follows anchor partnerships. The authors advance a model of cohesion and alignment among equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI), community engagement, and social entrepreneurship commitments at colleges and universities. This centers on the notion of “joining” as an epistemology and a methodology in community and campus-based work to achieve the anchor mission. In addition to advancing a theoretical model, the authors draw upon theory in practice at the University of San Diego, where the Center for Inclusion and Diversity, Mulvaney Center for Community, Awareness, and Social Action, and the Changemaker HUB aligned their efforts to approach student learning, community empowerment, and economic development through a cohesive lens.

Author Biographies

Esteban del Rio, University of San Diego

Associate Provost and Chief Diversity Officer
Associate Professor, Communication Studies
University of San Diego
5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, Calif. 92110
(619) 260-7455

Esteban del Río collaborates with partners to advance an equity agenda with the aim of transforming the university and community in the direction of social and economic justice. His teaching and scholarship focuses on the politics and poetics of human difference and unity, with work exploring the production of Latinidad in informational, entertainment, and vernacular discourses. He sits on the governing board of the California Bicycle Coalition, engaging in community-based advocacy around mobility justice. He also serves as the Collegium Board Chair, working on faculty development within the Catholic Intellectual Tradition.

John Loggins, University of San Diego

Director of Community Engaged Learning
Karen and Tom Mulvaney Center for Community, Awareness and Social Action
University of San Diego
214 Maher Hall
San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 260-2969 

John Loggins works collaboratively as part of a team responsible for ensuring that USD is a global and national leader as a community-engaged anchor institution committed to democratic and equitable community partnerships that generate transformative solutions to societal challenges. He earned a masters in Leadership Studies from the University of San Diego and continues to connect his practice of adaptive leadership to his work in community engagement and in his roles as a board member for OG Yoga and as a member of the Place-Based Justice Network Steering Committee. John’s commitment to positive social change through community engagement began during his service in Peace Corps Jamaica, where he led an effort to create innovative programming for incarcerated youth. For the past 13 years, John has continued his work in Jamaica by creating and co-creating several international course-based community engagement experiences for USD undergraduate and graduate students. 

His continued dedication also shows through his roles as a volunteer (20 years) with American Cancer Society and Seany Foundation.