WE ARE Celebrating more than a decade of Civic Engagement at Norwich University
2014 Service and Service-Learning
TABLE OF CONTENTS 2 Education Through Service 3 A Note from the Director 4 All Hands On Deck
The Alliance for Civic Engagement
Taking Academics Beyond the Classroom
8 International Focus
NU Visions Abroad (NUVA) NU International Freedom Association (NUIFA) Norwich University Rotaract Club
10 National Focus
Alternative Breaks Spotlight on Disaster Relief Legacy March Blood Drive/Bone Marrow Registration Drive
WISE CAMPUS CENTER
12 Local Focus
Youth Outreach - Buddy Up Norwich University Emergency Medical Service Race for Recovery
14 Campus Sustainability Our Students’ Contribution Drop ‘N Swap Trash to Treasure
15 Financial Literacy A Co-Curricular Service-Learning Model of Success
16 Alumni Spotlight Ashley Gavin ’10
17 The Valentine’s Day Mayo Ball
A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT There is power in serving others. Not the type that usually comes to mind when you see the word, but rather the opportunity – or results that are the outcomes of service. Simply said, serving others makes the impossible achievable and opens doors to experiences previously unimaginable. If the only reason for serving others is to get something back, then those who serve will only get that something back. 1 for 1. An apple for an orange. I do this, you give me that. But when you serve others because you genuinely want to, something big happens. A relationship is formed. Ideas are exchanged. Experiences are shared. Memories are made. Service is much more than a transaction at Norwich; it is a guiding value that is embedded into our academic and student life experience to enhance learning of classroom content and foster a sense of civic responsibility and engagement. Norwich University students, faculty, staff and alumni are committed to positively touching lives within our state and around the world as we live our value of “service before self.” Service activities, executed in partnership with communities, businesses, non-profits and individuals of all walks, provide our students with hands-on experiences in their chosen field and encourage students to move beyond charitable acts of kindness and short-lived fixes to a deeper analysis of systematic challenges facing our world. The individuals you will read about in this publication have made a habit of helping people with whatever they need and they follow through on the commitment they have made. For them, service is automatic and a vital ingredient of who they are. They do not think – “What am I going to get out of this?” They just do. They start each day with one simple thought in mind – to serve. And then they follow through. Following through creates a reputation of dependability. Word spreads about you when you follow through. Your network will grow. More opportunities to serve and lead others will arise for those who complete what they begin, whether in the community, on a project, at a workplace, etc. As a result, the number and different types of opportunities made available increase, and the impact of that service to the world will be greater. Stories of service fill the pages of this publication highlighting the projects and initiatives of those engaged in the work of Norwich University’s Center for Civic Engagement. Through a vast and varied array of academic programs and servicelearning opportunities, Norwich students, faculty and staff, often working handin-hand with our alumni, have opportunities to take responsibility for the larger community – be it in Northfield, in Vermont, or around the globe – and shape a better world.
Richard W. Schneider RADM USCGR (Ret.) President, Norwich University
EDUCATION THROUGH SERVICE In 1819, Alden Partridge established the American Literary, Scientific and Military Academy. Dissatisfied with the educational methods of the time, Captain Partridge set out to create an educational system uniquely American in character. Above all, this system of education would be practical and wholly focused on preparing graduates for their duties and responsibilities as citizens of the American Republic. According to Professor Gary Lord, to whom I humbly apologize for plagiarizing (poorly) his research on the topic, Partridge did not advocate for a purely military education. Rather, he proposed a system of civil education to which military training was to be one of several crucial elements. He foresaw that his young republic would need engineers, teachers and learned farmers, not to mention leaders in the fields of politics, business and the military. Partridge’s system of education would go on to produce alumni who helped build railroads, dams, businesses, cities and arguably the nation itself. We alumni often focus on the military form and function of Captain Partridge’s creation, but in truth Partridge created a civic engagement college rather than a purely military one. An institution whose purpose was to build the well-rounded, engaged citizens who are the critical building blocks of a democratic republic. In Partridge’s time, it was expected that gentlemen of the caliber graduating from his university be active volunteers in their communities. They would have performed
acts of charity through their churches, assisted their neighbors when in need, and pitched in to help their communities rebuild in the face of tragedy. There were not non-profit organizations as we know them today, and certainly Captain Partridge could not have foreseen how his young Republic would grow and change or the challenges it would face almost 200 years later. As time has marched forward, in many places the concept of community service has been lost or degraded. In 2009, the University continued its tradition of adapting to changes in our society by establishing the Center for Civic Engagement. The Center is an embodiment of Captain Partridge’s commitment to the well rounded citizen engaged with their community. It is the collector, coordinator and caretaker of the selfless acts of the University’s students and alumni, allowing them to simultaneously support both Norwich and their communities through outreach, volunteering and charitable work. Each time Norwich University students, faculty, staff and alumni volunteer in their community, the Norwich family grows stronger and its pledge to the Republic more resilient.
economic challenges, when managing our personal finances and preparing for retirement is about national security as much as it is about personal security, it means providing financial literacy education to our students, neighbors and co-workers. We are proud of Norwich, not just for its accomplishments in the past, but for its good works in the present and its promise for the future. So long as we alumni are willing to adapt with and support our University, Norwich will remain strong and relevant forever. We think Captain Partridge would be proud, too.
John and Leslie Linfield, ‘94
With over 84% of current students involved in the Center for Civic Engagement, it is arguably one of the most popular, successful, impactful and unifying elements of a Norwich education. By its very nature the Center is adaptive to the needs of the Norwich community and the nation, whether it is responding to a natural disaster, supporting the Special Olympics or helping to build critical infrastructure for poor communities. And in a time of heartbreaking
Students, faculty, staff and community partners attend the Center’s Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony in October 2009, in celebration of the Linfield’s generous financial contribution resulting in the establishment of the Endowment for Civic Engagement. Here, John and Leslie do the honors on the steps of Harmon Hall.
A NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR What? So What? Now What? Twice each year, the Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) hosts a Day of Service – a day during which our students (regardless of lifestyle, major, hometown or talents) come together as one student body and volunteer for one of a dozen or so local non-profits or residents in need. The first event takes place in conjunction with our NU National Day of Service, when NU alumni clubs from all over the country organize and participate in their own hometown service projects; the second is held in honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his life of service to others: this “day on, not a day off” event is typically held the second Saturday after students return from winter break – just in time to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy in this nation-wide commemoration. On each occasion, at the end of the day, CCE facilitates a popular reflection activity among the students as they collectively reconvene after having been separated into groups for their randomly assigned service sites. The activity is aptly called: “What? So What? Now What?” Working in small groups, the students answer the following questions pertaining to their experiences from the day: 1. What did you learn about your community site/partner, and what did you accomplish? 2. Why does what you accomplished matter? (Who did you help? What difference did you make, and to what outcome?) 3. What should we and can we do as a University to continue to help these organizations now that their needs are clear? By providing our students with a structured opportunity that encourages them to think critically about the local, national and international communities in which they serve – and their role – we allow them an opportunity to engage not just as students, but as productive and useful citizens we help to develop through our university. This publication was designed to simulate and capture the same kind of reader insights that the “What? So What? Now What?” exercise does, but on a larger scale. When we apply this same reflection to what the CCE has accomplished over the last decade, why it matters and where our work will lead us as we head into the University’s second century of service, I hope this snapshot of the collective impact our students’ commitment to service has had on both their academic and personal development – as well as on our partnering communities capacity to serve their constituents – is apparent. Certainly it motivates us to keep investing our time, energy and resources towards ensuring the future of this program. The CCE was developed in response to our students’ desire and inclination to serve not only their nation, but their neighbors. Whether engaged in military service, the private sector, or in the world of non-profits, our students and graduates are making it their personal and professional priority to stand up for the causes they believe in; stand beside those who need their help; and stand out among their peers as leaders in service. Let’s continue to support their efforts, near and far, now and forever.
Nicole M. DiDomenico, MST
All Hands On Deck – The Alliance for Civic Engagement The Norwich University Alliance for Civic Engagement (NUACE) is a strategically-appointed volunteer group of NU community members and friends who serve as advocates for CCE programming, ambassadors to build goodwill and better relationships with our local, national and international partners, and participants of a think-tank to realize the CCE’s potential for offering a broad range of community engagement and leadership opportunities.
Innovation & Partnerships
MaryKay Quick Psychology major, Freshman
Joseph Babitsky International Studies/Chinese, Junior
Despite being in her first year at Norwich, MaryKay’s charismatic spirit has allowed her to become one of the Center’s most successful student volunteer recruiters. A strong student with an impeccable reputation among faculty, and a dedication to service, MaryKay is an excellent service-learning liaison with professors.
On track to graduate and commission into the United States Air Force in 2015, Joe split his childhood between the US and China, allowing him to gain a unique world view at a young age. He began volunteering in high school and is now the CCE Open House representative and a model volunteer.
Angela Lakey ’09 Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, Army National Guard, VT
Alexandria Manousos ’12 Prevention Program Coordinator, Sexual Assult Crisis Team
While a student at Norwich, Angela led a NUVA trip to Nicaragua, assisted over three consecutive years of disaster relief in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina through ASB, and helped with Habitat for Humanity and Buddy Up as an AmeriCorps member.
As a student, Ally completed 1,800 AmeriCorps service hours; served as the Irene Disaster Relief Volunteer and Resource Student Coordinator; participated in all three trips with NUVA to Thailand, and received training in victims’ advocacy, prevention education, and ‘Building Bridges Out of Poverty.’
Tara Kulkarni, PhD, P.E. Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Andrea Talentino, PhD Dean, College of Liberal Arts
In addition to receiving funding from VT Campus Compact for her S-L work in 2012, Dr. Kulkarni recently received a nomination for “best paper” from the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) Community Engagement Division which she presented at their national conference.
Mission The Alliance for Civic Engagement identifies common service-related issues that need focused effort and provides a forum for collaboration, communication, and consultation between and among stakeholders.
Dr. Talentino has a demonstrated past of supporting civic engagement initiatives throughout her professional career and as a community member. Her passion for the advancement of this work, coupled with her personal experiences with service-learning and community development, make her invaluable.
Becky Raymond Regional Director, Central VT Building Bright Futures Council
Kreig Pinkham Executive Director, Washington County Youth Service Bureau (WCYSB)
Becky brings more than a decade of experience managing programs for children and youth, including supporting NU students who volunteered with the Boys and Girls Club of Northfield. She holds degrees in Psychology, Music and Early Childhood Education.
Raised in Northfield, Kreig is no stranger to the university. An expert in positive youth development, Kreig’s vast experience with developing intergenerational and communitywide strategic partnerships for the development of a stronger community is central to the success of the CCE.
Members Constituents are represented by four change agents from each of the following groups: alumni, current students, faculty/staff and community partners. This 16-person alliance is then sub-divided into four committees focusing on the areas considered most critical to the further development and sustainability of the CCE: • Service-learning
• Impact and recognition
• Innovation and partnerships
• Resource development
Impact & Recognition Emily Cahill Political Science, Sophomore Emily is responsible for tracking all of the volunteer hours at CCE. She also authors the bi-weekly e-newsletter distributed to all registered volunteers. This year, she started a program called “Toasty Toes” – a sock collection drive for local seniors, veterans and others in need.
Structure • Full network meetings are held once a semester. At these meetings, network members will collaboratively decide on the efforts and initiatives that the network as a whole will undertake. • Focused network gatherings to explore themes, topics, etc. are held regularly coordinated by various network members. These are open to any who wish to attend. • Efforts and initiatives determined by the network take place throughout the year and are spearheaded by those who volunteer to coordinate them.
Resource Development Brandon Gallant Computer Security and Information Assurance (CSIA), Sophomore Captain of the NU Emergency Medical Services group and a natural relationship-developer, Brandon has a deep appreciation for the cost of providing quality programming and services for the community. He continues to be instrumental in proposal and grant writing for his program, and demonstrates creativity in fundraising and resource management.
Moriah Gavrish ’06, M’07 Architectural designer, Dann N. Batting, Architect
John Linfield ’94 Executive Director, Institute for Financial Literacy
The first NU student to complete two consecutive AmeriCorps terms while still in school, Moriah founded the Buddy Up Program, and participated in several Alternative Break and NUVA trips, to include Tanzania, where she eventually pursued an internship and joined the Upendo Mmoja board.
Both a former major gift officer of the university, and the donor who allowed the CCE to create its endowment, John continues to give back to his alma mater by lending his expertise as a fundraiser and financial educator to secure funds for the CCE to continue with its excellent programming.
Daphne Larkin Assistant Director, Office of Communications
Eduardo “Chico” Hernandez ’72 PhD Associate Professor, Sports Medicine
Daphne’s role in strategic communication planning to support university initiatives, combined with her expertise in media relations and storytelling, allows the CCE to convey how our students, faculty and staff are making an impact locally and around the world through service.
A popular and influential faculty member for over 30 years, Chico possesses the institutional knowledge and long-term relationships with fellow alumni that engages affinity and support. A member of the Trash to Treasure Committee, he knows all about the importance of a sustainable infrastructure to ensure a program’s future.
Nancy Zorn Executive Director, Green Mountain United Way
Curtis Ostler Development Director, ReSOURCE
Nancy has worked in the area of fundraising and community impact for over 30 years. Her experience with collecting, analyzing and presenting data to convey program impact, as well as in volunteer recognition, brings much direction to the CCE.
As former Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations for the university, Curtis advocated for the CCE and helped to secure several grants to sustain youth outreach programming for our current pilot program on financial literacy. He continues this work with the same enthusiasm now as a strategic community partner. 5
Service-Learning: Taking Academics Beyond the Classroom Norwich University defines Service-Learning as the incorporation of service into the curriculum which includes: • Explicit connections between the service and course objectives • Students engaged in activities which meet community needs • Structured opportunities for critical reflection • Active and sustained organizational commitment • Necessary training, supervision, monitoring, support, recognition, and evaluation to meet service and learning goals
Benefits for students who participate in Service-Learning: • Service-Learning is a résumé builder. Service-Learning can be added to one’s résumé like an internship • Leadership skills are honed through Service-Learning. Participants learn about a new organization, communicate with staff, professionals, and/ or class teammates. Their SL experience may require project management, public speaking, and interpersonal skills • Real world experience - A Service-Learning project can give students experience in their discipline before they graduate
A message from Tara Kulkarni, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Engineering is a service-oriented profession. We are problem solvers and innovators by our very nature. However, often times as we formulate our theoretical framework and scaffold it with relevant mathematical equations, we forget the big picture. We don’t stop and think about the people and communities whose problems our bridges and treatment plants will solve. Service-learning is a pedagogical tool that truly serves as a bridge between learning and application. Students share a slice of their knowledge to meet the needs of community partners and get a real opportunity to apply their learning in the real world, where they
negotiate project scopes, conduct meetings and site investigations, collect data, and write and present their ideas, their designs, and their calculations to everyone from an elementary school kid to licensed professionals. For me, one of the greatest tests of my students’ understanding of class content I cover is being able to explain all the complex computations they perform in a way that my eight year old will understand. If this means whipping up ice-cream sundaes to explain landfill design or building plexiglass models to demonstrate rainwater harvesting, so be it!
Water Sustainability Through Rainwater Harvesting: Design and Outreach Water sustainability is a major focus in renewable development. Both excessive flooding and droughts, exacerbated by climate change, are major causes of economic and social disadvantages in modern communities. Efficient management of water resources can diminish the negative effects of these hydrological events. The objective of the research project was to investigate ways to bring the message of water sustainability, through conservation and pollution prevention to elementary school children, while engaging them in the Engineering Design Process (EDP). Students at JJ. Flynn Elementary School in Burlington, Vermont were involved in activities to showcase the EDP and sustainability principles while creating a design for a practical rainwater harvesting system. The system was designed to tie into the existing gutters located on the school’s gymnasium and harvest rainwater from a 1,400 square foot area and yield an average of 235 gallons of water per week. The harvesting system will be utilized to water a garden system maintained by the students. 6
A team, consisting of senior civil and environmental engineering students from the university, met repeatedly with the elementary students to showcase ideas, diagrams, and models on water conservation by rainwater harvesting. The team offered constructive feedback for the project at each meeting and received an interactive educational experience. The elementary students were also engaged in basic engineering skills such as surveying, energy calculations, and volumetric estimations, through hands-on activities. The research outcome is a set of drawings that can be utilized by the school to install a rainwater harvesting system designed to be both economical and efficient. An informal survey conducted at the close of the project indicated that over half of the students became more interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) based areas of study as a result of their experiences with the rainwater harvesting project.
FR331 Advanced French Composition, Conversation and Translation Students role-played as French-speaking village leaders of Mali and interpreters in a culturing training exercise of the Tactical Information Operations Course offered by the Vermont National Guard to 30 Guard members from different parts of the United States. After researching French-language resource materials and documentaries, the students created a hypothetical scenario wherein the objective of American military leaders in Northern Mali was to negotiate with local Muslim village leaders to offer assistance with cleanup of the polluted Niger or development of safe irrigation systems in exchange for partnering to secure the area from attacks by AQMI (AlQuaïda au Maghreb Islamique). An article about the students’ experience with the service-learning project has been posted on Norwich Today.
PE 406 Readings in PE and PE 432 Organization & Management of PE and Athletics Dr. Thomas Roberge, Dept. of Biology and Physical Education Having our Norwich physical education classes facilitate Special Olympic tournaments is a fabulous project that offers our students challenges and tremendous rewards. The Special Olympic athletes show our physical education students and our Norwich student-athlete volunteers what competition and being a competitor is really about; competing with integrity and team pride mixed with celebrating everyone’s success while supporting everyone’s efforts. The Norwich physical education students and student-athlete volunteers see firsthand the value of offering these games by the energy, excitement, enthusiasm, and true sportsmanship exhibited by the Special Olympic athletes. “I believe that is a huge reason why we have so many Norwich student-athlete volunteers, and I also believe these events help unify our Norwich community.”
Gambian visit gives Norwich students a lesson in relative values Education goes both ways, as Brittni Bartholomew and other students from Norwich learned during visits to Gambia in the summer of 2008 and the following May, 2009. Inspired by a presentation on the country by fellow Norwich professor John Meyer, education professor Diane Byrne planned the trips to study primary and secondary education and allow students to perform service in schools. The teacher education program at Norwich has an ongoing relationship with the University of Gambia, which is the smallest country in Africa at about twice the size of Delaware. While teaching others, visitors learned new things about themselves and the world. Staying in African villages, the group worked with the Baku Basic Primary School and the Njwara Village School with children in kindergarten through sixth grade. Ashley Potvin, then a rising junior from Biddeford, Maine, was taken aback by cows in the streets and live chickens stuffed in shopping bags at the market. Bartholomew was surprised by the mud, brick and thatch huts that housed entire families, and by repeated marriage proposals, presumably for money. Bartholomew is now seeking ways to volunteer in Africa in between her school and Army obligations. “When you can put a huge, warm smile on someone’s face just by giving them something as small as a pencil, it lights a fire inside of you that you never knew you had,” she said.
Norwich students Kelsey Baker and Pier Cotnoir speak with a participant in a Vermont National Guard class on cultural awareness.
Student event organizers celebrate another successful VT Special Olympics basketball tournament, held on campus annually.
Excerpt from article: Sarah Tuff, correspondent
© July 2009, Norwich University Office of Communications
Lisa Brucken, Adjunct Professor of Military History ID120 Chaplains in the Civil War: A Partridge Seminar This service-learning project with the Norwich University archives involved transcribing a set of letters written in 1852 and 1853 to George Olcott Jr., a Norwich student at the time, from his family who resided in Charlestown, NH. The results will be uploaded and part of Norwich University Archives’ Digital Collections website. Students learned the mixed blessing of 19th century handwriting and nomenclature, and the importance of historical accuracy and critical thinking. The goal was two-fold—to connect students to history in general and Norwich in specific in a real and tactile way, and to engage in a project that represented the authentic work of the University archives. Photo: Kelly Nolin, Archivist and Special Collections Librarian at Kreitzberg Library, advises students as they try to decipher their assigned letters to transribe.
INTERNATIONAL FOCUS With a family as large and as expansive as the Norwich University’s group of parents, alums and other supporters, the idea of helping others outside of the U.S., much less out of Vermont, doesn’t feel like “us” helping “them.” In some cases, in fact, we are working alongside
our alums and community partners to gain not just insight into another place and culture, but also into the similarities – more than differences – we share.
NU VISIONS Abroad (NUVA) NUVA began in 2004 when five students and their two advisors traveled to the Cook Islands to volunteer for three weeks. Since then, the NUVA program has traveled to Viet Nam, Nicaragua, Tanzania, Thailand, and Haiti, resulting in a total of 14 trips taken by over 80 participants. Service projects have ranged from teaching in and repairing schools to helping in rural medical clinics, to building a library in Tanzania and a community kitchen in Thailand through longer-term partnerships. Some participants pursued research grants and academic credit by testing and reporting results of villages’ water supplies, while others created community needs assessment strategies that would result in future projects. Teams prepared for 3–6 months prior to their departure by learning conversational language skills, taking on team leadership roles, collecting needed donations, and receiving all the necessary medical immunizations. In addition to performing service during their trip, a heavy emphasis is also placed on cross-cultural exchange. By focusing international travel around the theme of service, we have coupled one of our institutional priorities - “internationalizing the campus” with our motto of “service before self.” What better way is there to prepare our young men and women for the world they will enter upon graduation?
NU International Freedom Association (NUIFA) The purpose of this newly formed group is to educate fellow students with the numerous human rights issues going on in the world and to organize and conduct activism campaigns to help the people who are in situations where they are unable to help themselves. This activity will include sending letters to government officials in foreign countries, investing in micro economies as a means to help struggling countries at a grassroots level, and fundraising to send money to refugees, abuse victims, the homeless, starving, and anyone who needs a helping hand.
Through programs like NU VISIONS Abroad, Rotaract, and a budding Amnesty International chapter, students have the choice to engage in international service initiatives by either traveling to communities to which they’ve been invited to serve, or without ever leaving campus. NU VISIONS Abroad allows students for whom studying abroad isn’t possible to still explore and
serve in countries like Haiti, Thailand, Tanzania, Nicaragua and Viet Nam for three weeks at a time during University breaks. Alternatively, those who wish to serve as more of an advocate and for social and economic inequalities can focus on educating the campus and neighboring communities through events like the Crop Walk, Hunger Banquets and film series.
Norwich University Rotaract Club The Norwich University Rotaract Club began in 2004 with just five members; since then, membership has risen to as high as 24. Regardless of their membership count, and with the support of the Northfield Rotary Club, they have managed to raise awareness, funds and excitement around several issues and projects impacting our global community. The group meets weekly during the school year to exchange ideas, plan activities and projects, and socialize. While Rotary clubs serve as sponsors, Rotaract clubs decide how to organize and run their club and what projects and activities to undertake.
Pushing Out Polio
In 2010 after attending the Rotary International Convention in Montreal, then-Rotaract President, Ally Manousos was inspired to invite one of the event’s guest speakers – author, athlete, Rotarian and internationally acclaimed speaker, Ramesh Ferris, to Central Vermont and help to raise awareness and funds to support the end of polio worldwide. As part of his visit, club members arranged for him to speak at Norwich University and at the Northfield Middle and High School to share his unique story of growing up with polio, his life experiences with bullying and discrimination, and to share what people are doing around the world to combat polio and eradicate it for good in a campus presentation titled: “Against All Odds: Walking with Purpose, Fighting for Change.” Later that same day, he presented at the Capitol Plaza in Montpelier, Vt. in front of nearly 200 Vermonters and helped our Rotaract club raise $4,000 towards the eradication of polio!
Outreach to Tanzania
In 2012, Rotaract was approached for financial support to aid the rural villagers in Pommerin, Tanzania to purchase four acres of land to build the first vocational and residential training center for orphaned youth. Rotaract responded immediately with the requested funds - $1,750 – and then later learned that the village gifted the land to the Upendo Mmoja (“One Love”) group, so instead their funds would help to literally build the foundation of the residential center. This summer, Rotaract has partnered with the NUVA program and will be traveling to Pommerin to help build this facility, which is scheduled to be completed by December 2015. Rotaract has adopted Upendo Mmoja and their center as their long-term international project, and will be planning to travel with Rotarians and even interactors from the Northfield High School again next year.
While “national service” at Norwich University has traditionally referred to the military service that so many of our graduates have pursued upon graduation, its definition now is much broader; it now refers to everything from disaster relief to blood and bone-marrow registration drives – any program that might have a local or regional connection,
but that impacts our country on a larger scale. Through the Alternative Spring Break program, or even during spring training trips among our student athletes, our students have used this time away from campus to help other communities in other parts of the U.S.
Alternative Breaks – Thanksgiving, Winter and Spring
Spotlight on Disaster Relief
During Thanksgiving, Winter, and Spring Break weeks when dorms close and students have free time, the CCE offers service trips for interested students who would rather volunteer when the opportunities arise. Alternative Thanksgiving Break offers what is known as a “Vermont Sampler” experience during which participants work with Vermont nonprofits such as the Vermont Food Bank, the Veterans’ Place, Montpelier Parks and Recreation, Habitat for Humanity, and the ReSTORE in Barre. They also get to explore more of Vermont as well as participate in the team-building that takes place within the group.
On August 28, 2011, Tropical Storm Irene dropped 15 inches of rain, leaving four Vermonters dead, more than 200 roads washed out, 35 bridges closed and isolated at least 13 communities.
The Alternative Winter and Spring Break trips offer similar opportunities, outside of Vermont, across the neighboring New England states or along the east coast. There is a program fee associated with these programs, but the Center fundraises on behalf of the group with the help of team members. Past trips have included: • Disaster response in New Orleans and Gulfport, MS • Habitat for Humanity sites in South Carolina, New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut • Catholic Charities’ “Our Daily Bread” Soup Kitchen and the HeadStart Afterschool Program in Baltimore, MD • Heifer Project International’s Overlook Farm in Rutland, MA • Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center for children with disabilities and adults with traumatic brain injuries
Positioned to respond in case of an emergency, the Mountain Cold Weather Rescue Unit was ready and soon called on to act to help redidents evacuate their homes to nearby shelters, and with crowd control. The Center for Civic Engagement, in partnership with the Commandant’s Office, Facilities and Operations and other Norwich departments, mobilized a Norwich Disaster Relief team and groups of students were deployed to muck out basements, knock down walls, and haul furniture, carpet, and appliances to dumpsters and burn piles. That fall, more than 800 students, staff, and faculty contributed 4,000 volunteer hours of relief work to Northfield and neighboring communities.
Legacy March After learning about the historical trek from Norwich, Vermont to the present day home of the cadets in Northfield, students began planning a similar 50-mile march in 2010 timed to conclude during the NU National Day of Service and raise money for worthy nonprofits. Since then, the annual Legacy March has raised thousands of dollars to support national charities such as the Wounded Warrior Project and Northfield’s Veterans’ Place.
Another great example of our national service focus has been our NU National Day of Service that takes place each fall. Together with many alums from clubs in their own towns across the US, Norwich students, faculty and staff participate in one of several service projects organized to assist the many local nonprofits in Central Vermont.
So while at Norwich University the projects are local, it is organized in solidarity with those clubs from around the country who are also dedicating a day to ‘service before self!’ Norwich is on the map nationally for not only its history of service, but for the contributions our students and alums are making every day across the country.
Blood Drive/Bone Marrow Registration Drive: We’re Still In Charlie’s Corner Everyone who lives on campus knows about our longstanding partnership with the American Red Cross because of the two blood drives in Plumley Armory each fall and spring. In fact, Norwich just beat its own record and collected 499 pints in one day this past February. When one pint can save up to three lives that’s something to celebrate! What people might not know about is how the DKMS Bone Marrow Registration Drive became a part of these events. In 2010, when the national bone marrow registry failed to produce a genetic match from its database of more than 9 million people, Charlie Crosby, Norwich’s Sports Information Director, decided to ask his alma mater for help. In response, the CCE promoted a school-wide bone marrow registration effort that spread well beyond campus even today. Since the initial launch in February 2011 at the biannual blood drive when 455 people signed up for the bone marrow registry, Norwich has incorporated the drive into both fall and spring blood drives in partnership with DKMS, a non-profit who processes registrations for the national database. “One of the questions you ask when you get something like this is, ‘Why me? What have I done to deserve this horrible disease?’” Crosby said. “Maybe the answer is so I can save somebody else. That’s something I can hang my hat on. I can save somebody else.” To date, seven of our students and alums have been discovered as matches for people across the country; all have donated their marrow and saved lives because of the awareness Charlie helped to raise.
Students who participate in local service are doing so in three different ways: as volunteers, as community-based workstudy students, and as those involved in a service-learning or experiential-based course that requires a “hands-on” component.
Between 2002 and 2012, Norwich recorded the largest part-time student AmeriCorps member team of any college or university in New England! Members, who were required to perform a minimum of 300 hours over the year, were placed at various area nonprofit organizations and met weekly to reflect on their experiences and seek guidance from their peers.
Youth Outreach - Buddy Up Buddy Up was originally created in 2005 by student Moriah Gavrish (’06 Architecture, ’07 Masters in Architecture) who had a vision for a group-based mentoring program in which both mentors and mentees enjoyed themselves, learned from the relationships developed, and were held accountable to one another. Since its inception, the program has grown to nearly 30 active mentors and mentees, and serves the children in Northfield and Roxbury, Vt. between the third and eighth grades. The older, more experienced mentees are referred to as MITS – or Mentors in Training, and each mentor receives training each fall on special topics such as mandated reporting, unque learning styles, behavioral issues, etc. Each week the mentors meet to plan the following Friday’s program. Each Friday during the school year, the children involved in the program meet at the university at 4 p.m., spend 45 minutes working on homework or academically-related games or competitions, enjoy dinner in the school’s cafeteria, and then have an hour-long group activity that relates to the season and the students’ interests. What’s even better is that this three hour program is fully funded through grants, fundraisers and budgeted funds through the CCE. There is no fee to the child or their family, so it isn’t cost-prohibitive in any way. While each mentor is paired up with a child, the group stays together at all times, and abides by a self-written code of conduct that they create in the beginning of each academic year. This group holds itself to an extremely high standard when it comes to its programming, the example they set for the kids, and in their communications with both the local school and the students’ parents. In April 2014, the Buddy Up mentors were recognized for their hard work and effective programming, professionalism, sustainable leadership model, and impact on local youth. Each week, a newsletter recaps the previous week’s events as well as provides a “heads up” of upcoming events to all parents, making sure the mentees are ready for each week’s program.
Whatever the context, the impact our students have on the local community is real. Whether they are mentoring local youth on Friday nights through the Buddy Up Youth Mentoring Program on campus, responding as trained EMTs to emergency calls through the Northfield Ambulance Bay, or preparing taxes for incomeeligible residents, individuals and local nonprofit organizations have been eager to express their
gratitude for the help and resources that the University has provided. As stated in the University’s 2013 Annual Report, approximately 84% of our student body volunteers at least once during their time enrolled helping others, while gaining an important insight into the needs and challenges Vermonters face.
Norwich University Emergency Medical Service NU EMS NU EMS is a program of the Center For Civic Engagement and a Division of Northfield Ambulance. NU EMS provides 24 hour a day, seven days a week, emergency medical care while the university is in session for the fall and spring semesters. Equipped with Basic Life Support equipment, NU EMS provides medical standby details for Student Clubs, ROTC Detachments and University organizations such as the Corps of Cadets. NUEMS works closely with Northfield Ambulance and actively helps in providing medical coverage on the ambulance, the Crash Rescue unit, and the Off-road Rescue unit. NU EMS also trains students and the community in lifesaving skills. Students have the opportunity to enroll in an Emergency Medical Responder or an Emergency Medical Technician class to obtain a certification in those courses and provide emergency medical care to the sick and injured.
2013-2014 Accomplishments NU EMS has achieved a higher attendance rate over the last year with the creation and implementation of a Probationary Training Period and Training Program to include instruction in CPR and Basic First Aid. This led to a 200% increase in overall size of the unit and first year students. With this increase in training standard NU EMS taught for the first time on campus a state accredited Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) class available to members of NU EMS to increase the number of trained personnel both on campus and within the unit. With these new programs NUEMS has brought the unit to 90% state certified in AHA Healthcare provider and EMR or Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). With an increase in fundraising by the unit, new equipment was purchased to meet the new Vermont EMS protocols, including blood glucose meters to check a patient’s blood sugar levels at the EMT level of care and new uniform shirts to represent NU EMS. In addition to training new members in CPR, NU EMS sent five members to become CPR instructors which allowed NU EMS to train its own personnel and provide classes for students, faculty and staff.
RACE FOR RECOVERY Pat Morales, a Northfield High School graduate of 2009 and distinguished athlete in baseball, cross country, basketball, and hockey, started his Norwich University career in the fall of 2011. During winter break of that year, Pat sustained a traumatic brain injury that left him in a vegetative state. His family was told that Pat had no remaining brain activity and that he was not going to survive. Despite the prognosis, Pat not only has survived but has thrived and is well on his way to what can only be described as a miraculous recovery. On Sunday, April 28, 2013, a committee of his friends, neighbors and loved ones hosted the Race for Recovery – a 5K to raise the $5,000 he needed to someday reach his dream of running again. The committee raised over $6,000, and with those funds, Pat received the costly hyperbaric chamber therapy he needed to advance in his recovery. Pat is now doing much better and is working to get back to school and create a nonprofit organization educating youth about mental health stigmas and traumatic brain injuries.
Our Students’ Contribution Drop ’N Swap
This annual clothing exchange was first hosted at Norwich in 2005 when students from the CCE agreed to adopt the long-standing event from the Central Vermont Solid Waste Management District who was no longer able to financially sustain and host it after a nearly 20 year history. That year, despite the location having been moved from Barre to Norwich’s Plumley Armory, approximately 400 people showed up on the day of the “swap,” to acquire all the free, gently-used clothing, shoes, and linens they could find. Since its inaugrural year, the annual Drop ‘n Swap, a two-day clothing exchange event, has gained a reputation among the attendees as well as the participating student and community volunteers as being a true “win-win-win” event: The community wins, the environment wins, and Norwich wins. Our students, whether military or traditional, benefit from the opportunity to meet people who live in Central Vermont; tons of textiles are diverted from the waste stream and landfills; and those who attend can donate any clothing they no longer need, and/or can take any clothing they need but can’t otherwise afford. Today, more than 600 people from surrounding states and even Canada attend the second day of the “swap” annually. With over 100 tables piled high with mountains of clothing, attendees are only asked for $1 at the entrance, but no one is ever turned away if they can’t afford it. With the support of the Salvation Army, which takes all remaining items to sell, give to partner non-profits or send the rags to a textile recycling plant, truly nothing goes to waste!
Trash to Treasure
Acceptable items include clothing (including uniforms and even rags), cleaning supplies, furniture, appliances, electronics, sporting equipment, storage bins, rugs, mirrors, unopened non-perishable food items, and anything else that may be of value. Even the furniture that is replaced each year from one full dormitory will be up for sale!
While the trend of leaving unwanted or cumbersome possessions behind has become its own Norwich tradition, a group of students, staff and faculty decided last year to make a difference. At the close of last school year, the campus sustainability task force, sponsored and led by the staff and students of the CCE, hosted a pilot event called “Trash to Treasure,” with the aim to give students the opportunity to take all of their unwanted things they would typically throw away and donate them to a tag sale open to other students and community members.
The following nonprofits benefited: • The Food Shelf in Northfield received three cartons of nonperishable food items. • The Sexual Assault Crisis Team (temporary shelter in Barre) received furniture and clothes for victims. • The Central Vermont Humane Society received used towels, blankets, and rags. • The CCO Mission/Junipers Fare received furniture and miscellaneous camp items. • The Justice Center of Montpelier (transitional program for people reintegrating after jail) received miscellaneous items. • The Grange Campgrounds received beds.
At the end of every year students are inevitably faced with the challenging task of fitting all of their belongings into their car, or in some cases, into a few suitcases. As a result, hallways, lounges, and dumpsters are lined and filled with good quality items that just didn’t fit for the ride back home.
With the Student Government Association’s support, committee members from various academic departments from Housing and Residence Life to Facilities and Operations and a student team who helped with collections, the momentum to make an annual event began even before the first one took place! In its first year, more than 300 people attended, and $1,825 was raised for a newly created Campus Sustainability Fund. In its second year, the task force has learned from the first event after performing an After Action Review (AAR) to critique the efficiency and effectiveness of the event. So to make donating to the event even easier this year amongst the residential student body, collection bins on each floor of the barracks and residence halls will be placed with signage and instruction as to what can be placed in them.
“People are so excited to leave that they’ll pretty much throw anything out rather than deal with the hassle of finding room for it in the car,” said one student.“ I honestly never really considered how much good stuff students waste at the end of the year because everyone is so focused on leaving,” Christa Lewandowski said. “When I heard about the Trash to Treasure event, I realized how easily everything can be reused.” “I think most students would want to donate their old stuff, but have never been presented the opportunity to do so,” Lewandowski said. “I think it’s awesome to know that we can donate to a good cause.”
Financial Literacy: A Co-Curricular Service-Learning Model of Success At a time when student debt has reached to an all-time high and students and their families are struggling to pay for higher education, it is crucial we prepare our students for the world they are about to enter upon graduation.
student volunteers gain a valuable and life-long skillset. Last year, in partial recognition of our success with the VITA program, TD Bank, through the TD Charitable Foundation, granted Norwich University $19,500 to initiate a program to teach financial literacy to our students and in turn to others in need of this type of transferable education.
In an interesting online study performed by The National Financial Educators Council in 20121-13 and in collaboration with Ed Hathman, PhD, 89% of participants would have a more favorable opinion of schools (elementary/middle schools, high schools, and colleges) that offered comprehensive financial literacy programs. (financialeducatorscouncil.org/financial-literacystatistics).
Financial Literacy in our Schools and Communities: A Service-Learning Model in Personal Financial Management is a two-year pilot program created by the CCE. Through the Center, 12 Norwich students were selected to learn the core concepts of money management and sound financial practices this year. They were provided guidance on how to deliver that knowledge to the community, through instruction in primary through secondary schools, as well as to their peers with the development of age-appropriate lesson plans.
In response to the needs of our students’ financial well-being, and in partnership with other offices on campus and in the community, CCE has begun to offer financial literacy training, as well as free courses on tax preparation.
These “train the trainer” sessions were made possible in partnership with the Central Vermont Community Action Council, and with curriculum development assistance provided by the UVM’s 4-H Extension Program.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Since 2011, the CCE has partnered with the Central Vermont Action Council and the IRS to provide free training to any student, faculty, staff or community member interested in becoming a volunteer income tax preparer. Nearly three dozen individuals have taken advantage of this extensive training, and serve as volunteer preparers of simple and intermediate-level taxes for those who are income-eligible to receive free services.
Each participant had to complete an evaluation of the program and deliver 10 contact hours of instruction to others before receiving their $500 stipend, with which they could pay down debt, put towards a major purchase, invest or save.
These volunteers conduct the free service on campus during advertised walk-in hours during tax season. Since inception, the program has seen an increasing number of individuals take advantage of the tax preparation service as our
Additional programming, to include the developing of a peer to peer financial literacy mentoring program is in development.
Other examples of annual events and community partners supported by students through the Center for Civic Engagement Northfield’s Labor Day Weekend Haunter’s Guild Haunted House – benefiting nonprofits in Central VT Crop Walk for Hunger Awareness Central VT Home Health and Hospice Fashion Show Montpelier Parks and Recreation, Cross VT Trail, and Millstone Trails The Angel Tree (benefiting local kids with holiday presents) Better World Book Drives Box Tops/Labels for Education collection for Northfield Elementary School Cell Phones for Soliders Penguin Plunge (an annual fundraiser for VT Special Olympics) VT Food Bank Sort-a-Thons Habitat for Humanity (Central VT and Randolph Chapters) VT Math and Science Fair Boys and Girls Club of Northfield BRIDGES Afterschool Program, Northfield STAR Alternative High School, Northfield People’s Health and Wellness, Barre Central VT Medical Center Mayo Valentine’s Day Ball
What volunteer work did you do while you were a student?
What highlights can you recall from any of your volunteer experiences at NU?
International Studies and Spanish major, History and Political Science minor.
I participated in three Alternative Spring Break trips; first with Habitat for Humanity, then to New Orleans to do relief work. The third trip was as a team leader at Heifer International’s Overlook Farm. As a senior I joined Norwich’s AmeriCorps team and focused on hunger issues. I was the student volunteer coordinator for the local Dairy Drive and other monthly events with the Vermont Foodbank, and the local CROP Hunger Walk with Church World Service. I assisted fellow AmeriCorps members with their initiatives that included Prevent Child Abuse Vermont, Make a Difference Resource Center, and the annual Drop ‘N’ Swap.
I loved the Alternative Spring Break trips and being an AmeriCorps volunteer in general. I met such great people on those trips and on the AmeriCorps team. They were people I otherwise probably wouldn’t have come in contact with but had things in common and through serving together created friendships. I learned a variety of skills and what is out there as far as different kinds of service, which helped me on my way to defining a career path.
What other activities/programs/ groups/teams were you a part of at NU?
I was not really sure how I was going to make “helping people” a career. I just took it one step at a time, and along the way I met people who had different experiences and that helped me to form my own ideas about my career. Don’t be shy to ask others how they arrived at where they are, and any advice they may have. I have always planned ahead, because applying for EPIK, Peace Corps, and grad school takes a while. During each job I was already looking for and applying for the next thing. Read up about programs like the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and be knowledgeable about benefits of doing public service. I am so glad I lived abroad and had experiences before going back to school as it made me much more qualified and opened up scholarship opportunities.
Ashley Gavin ’10
I worked at Admissions for three years in the mailings section. I was a peer tutor for the Academic Achievement Center for three years as well. As a senior in the corps I was the executive officer of a freshman company. I also studied abroad for a semester in Costa Rica during my junior year. Each year, another class of Norwich graduates leave campus and enter the “real world” or so the story goes. However, the truth is that our students walk across the stage with so much real world experience, the transition from college life to the professional setting is often times blurred. Ashley, an exceptional student and volunteer during her time on the Hill, has not been the exception. Instead, she represents the highest of standards to which we hold all of our students. Whether on campus or in Korea, Ashley embodies all of the guiding values.
Did you commission in the military after graduation? No I did not. What did you do after graduation? The summer after graduation I was hired as an English teacher at the English Program in Korea (EPIK). EPIK is the government program to bring native English speakers to work in Korean public schools for a year or more. I taught for a year in a small town called Daeso at the local middle school. What’s next for you? I am starting my Masters of Public Health at Boston University after finishing my Peace Corps service in Colombia. My dream job is to work as a health officer for the United States Agency for International Development. What inspired you to want to pursue a profession related to public service? I’ve known I wanted a life in public service since I was a child. I was not exactly sure in what area of expertise, though, and over the years I have discovered what interests me most. I believe it is the best way I can spend my life, and it makes me happy to be of service to others.
What advice or message would you have for current students who are considering public service options?
These days it seems like every job and internship wants applicants to have work experience. That can be challenging for students to attain. However, the Center for Civic Engagement offers such a wide range of opportunities for students that it provides a great platform for them to begin earning experience. The students who volunteer are supported by CCE and other students who have been volunteering longer. CCE programs build confidence, self-awareness, and foster talents. If there is any place on campus that provides hands-on training for life, it is the Center for Civic Engagement.
For over 20 years, cadets have spent Valentineâ€™s Day with the residents of the Mayo Healthcare Facility in Northfield. Each resident is escorted by their date under the Arc of Swords and into the ballroom for an evening of dinner, dancing and conversation.
The Center for Civic Engagement 158 Harmon Drive Northfield, VT 05663 academics.norwich.edu/cce
Published on Jun 10, 2015