The mission of Civic Engagement in the Allegheny Gateway is to provide structures, programs, and resources to support student and faculty engagement in Meadville and beyond. The Civic Engagement office educates and empowers students to be civic-minded graduates as global citizens of a diverse, complex, and interconnected world.
Civic Engagement utilizes time and resources to support diverse and multiple interests within and outside the curriculum. The office promotes a reciprocal paradigm of service that is done in partnership with not for the community. Supported initiatives include philanthropy, one-time service experiences, virtual service initiatives, ongoing service and social justice initiatives. We seek positive impact for individuals, communities, living situations, the environment and unsafe or unjust systems and structures.
Programs are designed to both meet students “where they are at” and challenge their assumptions, worldview, and comfort zones. Through commitment to Allegheny College students and to the wider community Civic Engagement cultivates a pervasive culture of service and civic mindedness. Deep learning occurs by coupling significant experiences beyond the campus with structured educational preparation and reflection. Social context and physical location inform initiatives.
Student leadership, voice, and agency are at the core. Trained student service leaders, including the Allegheny Volunteer Service Leaders (AVSLs), Bonner Service Leaders, and Davies Community Service Leaders function as liaisons to community agencies. They recruit, orient and train, Allegheny work study students and volunteers. Staff members and Allegheny Community Engagement Student Fellows (ACES Fellows) support faculty to incorporate community engagement and civic learning into academic courses, research, and publications.
Civic Engagement manages Lake Effect Leaders, an AmeriCorps VISTA project. This collaborative with Gannon University and Mercyhurst University places up to 30 fulltime VISTA volunteers to fight poverty in Northwest Pennsylvania. Many VISTAs are recent graduates from the participating institutions.
Civic Engagement initiatives mobilize student, faculty, and administrative resources to collaborate on community efforts including the environment, community health, homelessness, hunger, animals, senior citizens, women’s empowerment, education, and underserved youth. In addition, the staff coordinates service events such as: Make A Difference Day, Service Saturdays, Martin Luther King day of service, Senior Citizen Recognition Day, and Alternative Spring Break Service trips.