Civic and Community Engagement

MWCC fosters increased civic and community responsibility among its students, faculty, staff, and the greater community. Various programs, supported by many campus departments and divisions, provide opportunities to “make a difference” in the college community and beyond.

Programming is generally provided through targeted grant initiatives and many of the events and activities are housed within or supported by the Center for Civic Learning & Community Engagement, such as:

Service Learning
Internships & Co-ops
The Democracy Commitment & 7 Revolutions
United Way Youth Venture of North Central Massachusetts
AmeriCorps Job Ready Program
What’s Next? Speaker Series

The success of the civic and community engagement movement is a result of collaborative efforts with local and state leaders from the public, nonprofit,
and business sectors. The Center for Civic Learning & Community Engagement serves as a liaison between the college and the community in support of these efforts. The ultimate purpose of working together with faculty, staff, students, and community partners is to continually improve academic culture, address community issues, and act as agents of positive social change.

At MWCC, community engagement and tangible work experiences open the doors to greater career development and future opportunities. Often referred to as “experiential learning,” such knowledge and skills are valued components of a student’s overall learning experience at MWCC. Community-based internships, co-ops, and service learning projects are vehicles by which students can participate in the life of the greater community. Grounded within an academic discipline, students provide assistance in the community, while at the same time reinforcing what they have learned in the classroom.

For more information on the various programs available, please call 978- 630-9435 or visit the center’s website at mwcc.edu/democracy.

Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement programs include:

Service Learning

Service learning projects are designed by faculty and are opportunities for students to benefit from hands-on learning while volunteering much needed assistance in our communities. Service learning differs from general volunteerism because the service experience is closely tied to the learning objectives of the course and because students receive partial course credit for their efforts. Students who complete 20+ hours of service learning are awarded a commemorative pin and students who complete 40+ hours of service learning are awarded a service medallion to wear at graduation. All service learning performed is accrued over the student’s entire course of study at MWCC and is recorded on the student’s transcript. For more information, speak to your instructor or visit mwcc.edu/democracy and click on ‘Students.’

United Way Youth Venture

United Way Youth Venture of North Central Massachusetts is a unique collaborative partnership between the United Way of North Central Massachusetts, Mount Wachusett Community College, and Ashoka’s Youth Venture with the goal of reaching not just the gifted and talented, but all youth in our community. United Way Youth Venture invests in young people ages 12-20 to launch a community-benefiting club, organization or business – a Venture. Youth are encouraged to identify a problem in their community and fix it by pairing it with a passion of their own – allowing them to see that community service is not a chore. Each team of emerging leaders is provided with up to $1,000 in seed funding for their Venture through a competitive process. Participants and community partners are provided continual guidance and support as they turn ideas into reality. The program currently partners with more than 19 schools and community-based organizations in North Central Massachusetts and has more than 1,500 participants annually. This program serves as the national model for United Way Youth Venture and has been replicated in nearly 20 communities across the country. For more information about how to start a Venture or to volunteer to support youth in the program, call 978-630-9201 or visit mwcc.edu/democracy/our-programs/united-way-youth-venture/

Students SOS Office

Students Serving Our Students (SOS) is a service offered at MWCC to help students succeed. There are many barriers students encounter that affect their ability to succeed in college, including health problems, financial concerns, childcare challenges, and the basic needs for food and or shelter. Volunteer student mentors in SOS are specifically trained to refer our students to community resources that will ensure they are able to be successful in their personal and professional endeavors.

The Democracy Commitment

MWCC is a founding signatory institution of a national initiative designed to engage students, faculty, and staff in civic learning and the democratic process. Through various means, participants explore the issues, personalities and community impact of campaigns, elections and the passage of laws. In addition, the program serves as an introduction to understanding points of access in our community and the region as a whole. The purpose of the program is to provide every graduate of MWCC with an education in democracy and an understanding of how to access and initiate change. For more information, call 978-630-9595 or visit mwcc.edu/democracy

What’s Next? Speaker Series

Born out of a plan to bring notable experts in the field of social change under a single theme, hundreds have attended the What’s Next? Speaker Series – public forums that introduce students, residents, community leaders, and decision-makers in North Central Massachusetts to innovative thinkers and doers from around the country and world. The goal of the series is to show change is possible, spark creative problem-solving, and inspire action. All sessions are free and open to the public.

Community Service and Volunteerism

As the catalyst that sparks greater community involvement, service and volunteerism are at the core of the civic engagement movement within the college. In collaboration with Student Life and other organizations and groups both on and off campus, service opportunities are offered for community-minded individuals and groups each year. The Center assists in connecting interested individuals or groups with nonprofits in the region looking for support or volunteerism. What better way to make a difference in people’s lives than to give of your time and talent? For more information, visit mwcc.edu/democracy and click on ‘Students.’