Service Groups

Alternative Breaks

Are You Still Deciding What to Do Over Thanksgiving or Spring Break?
Alternative Break trips are designed to provide students with the opportunity to gain skills,
make friends, and provide meaningful volunteer service to communities in need!

These student-led trips begin as soon as the dorms and barracks close for break and continue until they re-open the following weekend. They are a low-cost option for those who cannot travel home, or for those looking to enhance their résumé with hands-on volunteer work. These trips feature: site-seeing, recreational group activities, leadership development training and a team-based approach to addressing the needs of our host organizations.

If you are interested in participating, be sure to submit your application and attend your
scheduled interview prior to deadline. These trips fill up fast and space is limited!

Alternative Thanksgiving Break (ATB): Cost – $150*
Participants assist veterans and seniors, work on Central Vermont recreational trails, and assist various local nonprofit organizations throughout the week. Thanksgiving Day is spent preparing meals for and enjoying meals with local families in need. Recreational (optional) excursions happen throughout the week and are included in the cost of the program fee.

Alternative Spring Break (ASB): Cost – $200*
Trip sites vary and typically take place outside of Vermont. Past trips have included building homes with Habitat for Humanity sites in Conn., N.Y., Mass., and S.C.; working at the Heifer Project International Overlook Farm in Rutland, Mass.; serving meals at inner-city soup kitchens in Boston, Mass. and Baltimore, Md.; and working with at-risk and special needs children in Md. and N.H. Site-seeing excursions are dependent on the service location, but are always a highlight of the trip!

* Trip fees are all-inclusive,non-refundable, and due at the time of acceptance into the program. Financial assistance may be available. Contact the CCE for more information and a trip application at 4achange@norwich.edu.


Buddy Up – Youth Mentoring Program

Do you Enjoy Working with Children?
Have you any experience working with elementary-aged youth either at home or in a
camp setting? Make a positive impact on local children through a fun, group-based environment without ever having to leave campus!

The program pairs 25 mentees (kids from Northfield and Roxbury) with 25 Norwich
University student mentors each Friday after school during the academic semesters. This
student-run program meets once per week to plan and prepare fun-filled activities and again on Fridays when the children are on campus from 4 – 7 p.m.

How it Works:
Each Friday session begins with mentors helping mentees with homework or academic
skill-building challenges, includes a healthy dinner for all, and ends with recreational activities.

Interested in Becoming a Mentor?
The ideal mentor is someone able and willing to dedicate a full academic year to the program—as the children get very attached to their mentors! Acceptance to become a mentor is competitive and includes an interview. Applications can be picked up in the CCE (WCC 230), or online. All students are eligible to apply regardless of class year, lifestyle, or academic major.

Mentors can expect to gain skills and experience many professional development opportunities throughout the program including:

  • Mandatory-reporter training.
  • Mental health first aid certification.
  • First aid/CPR certification.
  • Workshops and conferences focused on childhood development and effective mentoring techniques.

Activities with Mentees Include:

  • Arts and crafts.
  • Rock wall climbing.
  • Low ropes course work.
  • Hikes up Paine Mountain, and more!

NU Emergency Medical Services

Interested in Becoming a First Responder?

NU EMS is a student-run organization through the Center for Civic Engagement that works
in partnership with the Northfield Ambulance Service in Northfield, Vt.

Its qualified members actively help in providing medical coverage on the ambulance, with the Crash Rescue Unit, and the Off-Road Rescue Unit within Northfield, West Berlin, and Roxbury.

NU EMS provides training for Norwich University students, faculty, and staff in life-saving skills that will help members become certified in the following proficiencies:

  • CPR/First Aid First Responders
  • Emergency Medical Responders (EMRs)
  • Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs)

NU EMS on Campus:
NU EMS student volunteers who are qualified to do so, also provide medical standby details for student clubs, ROTC detachments, and University organizations (such as the Corps of Cadets) on campus. In an effort to promote healthy choices and decision-making, NU EMS also provides campus programming such as mock DUI accidents on campus to raise awareness around the dangers of drunk driving in partnership with our local public safety officials.

Leadership Opportunities:
In addition to gaining life skills and regionally-recognized certifications, students who participate in this program are provided with additional professional development opportunities through local and national leadership training conferences and programs.
As one of the larger service-based student organizations on campus, the leadership positions available through NU EMS are competitive, and include:

  • Captain
  • Operations Lieutenant
  • Training Lieutenant
  • Training Sergeant
  • Administrative Sergeant
  • Supply Sergeant

NU Scouting Association

Are you Involved in Scouting?
The Norwich University Scouting Association is a fellowship of men and women who have
achieved Eagle Scout, Silver Award or Gold Award rank and/or those individuals who
have been involved with or in support of the Scouting movement. This group is dedicated to continued service to Norwich University and the surrounding community, as it helps to support others joining the ranks of Boy Scout, Girl Scout, Cub Scout and Venturing programs.

With NUSA’s main priority of serving others, the organization assists at local scouting events, visits with local troops when possible, and partners with other agencies to provide on and off-campus events such as Merit Badge events, Flag Etiquette trainings, Scouting Camporees and large-scale days of service. A natural ally with the Explorer Post programs, NUSA has also helped to establish a Law Enforcement Explorer Post through the Center for Civic Engagement for eligible students.

Benefits of Being Involved:
Through NUSA, participants can develop time management, project management, volunteer coordinator, leadership, and team-building skills. Working with local scouting organizations also helps to develop students’ networking skills, as well as to advance their rank within their respective organizations.

Membership Levels:

  • Green Bar – those who serve as a club officer.
  • Eagle/Silver/Gold Member – for those who obtained their respective highest rank within one of the many scouting organizations.
  • Supporter – any member who wishes to support scouting ideals and teaching who may or may not have been directly involved in scouting.

NUSA plans to annually host a Camporee for local scouting troops that desire to improve their leadership skills, while featuring many of the opportunities Norwich has to offer. The Camporee is a weekend camping event designed to allow participants to complete advancement requirements and merit badges while experiencing and learning more about Norwich.


Volunteer Income Tax Assistance – VITA

Gain Valuable Skills While Helping Others!
Have you ever thought it would be helpful to know how to prepare your own income tax
return? What if you could learn how to both prepare your own tax returns and help others
with theirs?

Partnering for a Common Good.
In partnership with Capstone Community Action and the Internal Revenue Service, the
VITA program is offered through the CCE for any student, faculty, and staff member looking to become a certified tax preparer.

This particular training is ideal for those who are pursuing a degree in business and/or
accounting. Certifications are valid for one year upon completion of the program, and are
renewable with additional training.

What Volunteers Can Expect:
Trainings are held on campus and are facilitated by a certified professional between November and December before the University closes
for winter break. Participants may choose to pursue their basic and/or advanced level of certification for free! The following are provided to volunteers at no expense:

  • Orientation and training.
  • Tax preparation materials and equipment.
  • Certificate of completed training.
  • Tracking of volunteer hours.

It’s All About Reciprocity!
In exchange for this training, VITA participants volunteer a few hours each week during tax season (February–April) to help income-eligible residents prepare their taxes at no cost to them. Tax preparation sites may be on campus or at a nearby location, so it is very convenient for volunteers.

If you are interested in this great opportunity to engage with your community, look no further than Capstone’s VITA program in partnership with the Center for Civic Engagement!


Unify – Special Olympics Club of NU

Improve the Lives of Those With Disabilities!
Unify is a student-run organization sponsored by the Center for Civic Engagement at Norwich University that aims to raise awareness and support for those who are differently-abled. It is designed to unite Special Olympic athletes from Central Vermont with our students (both with or without disabilities of their own) to create life-long friendships and to promote meaningful campaigns and programming that will better the lives of those living with disabilities.

Unify develops leaders among its mentors and mentees alike by offering a variety of programs and events through which they can become involved. All programming is inclusive by nature and the success of all programming depends highly on the commitment and engagement of the organization’s participants.

Events take place both on- and off-campus, and are highly popular among the Norwich
University community.

Unify Programming and Events:

  • Offer leadership opportunities to interested NU students.
  • Require a once-per-week commitment throughout the academic semester.
    Promote living a healthy lifestyle.
  • Foster a safe environment where participants learn to become more comfortable working and interacting with people with functional differences or special needs

Want to Join?
NU students who choose to join Unify become part of a larger, more inclusive community. All students are welcome to join this organization, and those with a particular interest in honing their leadership skills by organizing events or facilitating meetings will have the opportunity to do just that!

In partnership with the Vermont Special Olympics (specialolympicsvermont.org) since 1986, Norwich University’s commitment continues to grow! In 2016, we were awarded the “Vermont Organization of the Year” for our continued dedication.


Violence Intervention Peer Advocates – VIPA

Want to Become a Peer Advocate?
Violence Intervention Peer Advocates (VIPA) is a student-run organization through the Center for Civic Engagement that supports victims and survivors of sexual assault, domestic or intimate partner violence, and other forms of interpersonal aggression, including stalking, harassment, and bullying.

Students who participate in VIPA have the opportunity to become state-certified,
confidential peer advocates and volunteer with community organizations in Vermont’s
Washington County. In addition to weekly meetings, VIPA members also participate in
campus education and training programs, awareness campaigns, and fundraisers.

As certified advocates, student members will be required to volunteer each month to maintain a level of direct service to our community. Levels of professional development and responsibility will increase with training.

VIPA is Open to All Interested NU Students!
Those wishing to pursue a career in criminal justice, education, or any other social service field may find particular interest in and benefit from this student organization due to its direct service orientation. VIPA members and students seeking their assistance both benefit.

  • VIPA has established partnerships with local nonprofits whose primary function is to assist victims. These connections allow VIPA to help students and provide them with accurate, confidential information.
  • VIPA meetings are held once a week for regular members; confidential advocates participate in an additional meeting so they can debrief about cases, complete contact forms, and share questions or concerns.
  • VIPA meetings cover a variety of topics and can vary from sexual aggression, equality issues, victim-blaming, and other types of pressing matters the group would like to discuss.
  • VIPA offers many opportunities for its members to accrue volunteer hours. Hours worked on behalf of VIPA qualify students in the Corps of Cadets for volunteer and/or community service ribbons (depending on the event).

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