The Center for Civic Engagement has programs open to all students, faculty, staff and alumni.
You can tutor a student, volunteer to sort clothing at a local event or help build a house. Before you can volunteer, however, there are a few questions you should ask yourself. Are you interested in a one-time event, or an ongoing project? Do you have volunteer experience? Who are you interested in serving?
The best way to start is to come to the CCE office, fill out Volunteer Interest Form (pdf) and peruse a list of volunteer opportunities.
Programs have different requirements: Some require interviews or letters of recommendations. All students are required to maintain a 2.0 GPA, and have no pending judicial issues.
Scheduled yearly events:
During Thanksgiving weeks when dorms close and students have some free time, we offer opportunities to participate in service projects and enjoy a bit of sightseeing and team building. Alternative Thanksgiving Break is a “Vermont sampler” trip during which participants work with Vermont nonprofits such as the Vermont Food Bank, the Veterans Place, Montpelier Parks and Recreation, and Habitat for Humanity. The program cost is $100 and includes food, transportation and expenses.
Trips are offered to students based on need, interest and availability.
American Red Cross blood drive
Successful American Red Cross blood drives are held each semester on campus. Students volunteer as escorts and help wherever needed. For information, visit the American Red Cross web site.
Bone marrow registration drive
In partnership with the CERV Food and Clothing Shelf of Northfield, students, faculty and staff provide gifts to local children and families in need around the holiday time. A tree is displayed in the Wise Campus Center with “angel cards” describing the needs of a particular child or family. Gifts are collected and transported to CERV.
Clothing Drop ‘n Swap
Each fall during mid-semester break, volunteers hold a two-day clothing re-use and recycling event in Plumley Armory to prevent gently used clothing from ending up in the landfill. It is a popular event for the town of Northfield.
Trash to Treasure
Days of Service
On the first Saturday of November and the Saturday following Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day in January, the Center for Civic Engagement sponsors a Day of Service where several projects are undertaken. The day starts over breakfast when students are separated into teams and then transported, along with bagged lunches, to work sites for the day. Upon return, teams report on what they’ve accomplished and the needs of the organization they assisted.
Mayo Valentine’s Day Ball
Each February, cadets serve as dates to seniors living nearby at the Mayo Senior Residential Center at their annual ball. Dining, dancing and friendly card games are enjoyed. A long-standing tradition, this event is a highlight of spring semester.
Vermont Special Olympics Penguin Plunge
Norwich has a strong partnership with the Vermont Special Olympics, hosting annual soccer and basketball tournaments for Special Olympic athletes on campus. In addition, students help to staff and raise money for the much-anticipated Penguin Plunge – an event involving a freezing February dip into Lake Champlain.
Ongoing volunteering: all stem from the CCE office
Youth Mentoring Programs
The Youth Mentoring Program connects Norwich University students with local, at-risk kids from Northfield, Roxbury and other surrounding towns. Students mentor youth once a week with the Buddy Up group mentoring program on campus, or visit the Northfield Elementary School to assist with theme-based mentoring for younger children.
Supported by the Northfield Rotary Club of Vermont, this organization serves as the student-driven volunteer coordinating hub of the University. A core group of student leaders helps identify and prioritize local and international service projects, and examine ways to connect projects with their personal and professional pursuits. Visit Rotary International to learn more.
NUEMS (Emergency Medical Services)
The opportunity to serve as an emergency first responder is available to all students, regardless of lifestyle, and may help you progress toward becoming a certified emergency medical technician [EMT]. Volunteers receive local and national training, assist the Northfield Ambulance Bay on emergency calls on and off campus, and serve as a resource for the community. Visit the NUEMS website to learn more.
NU VISIONS Abroad
NU VISIONS Abroad is an integral part of the university’s student service and service-learning programs. By immersing students in a variety of community service settings, the program strives to heighten social awareness and promote lifelong action. Trips have included partnerships in the Cook Islands, Vietnam, Tanzania, Nicaragua, Thailand and most recently Haiti.
VITA and financial literacy training
Each fall, the Center for Civic Engagement partners with the Central Vermont Community Action Council, the IRS and other local businesses and nonprofits to offer volunteer income tax assistance training for volunteers willing to help income-eligible people file their taxes. Additionally, train-the-trainer workshops are offered in budgeting, building a credit score, understanding a credit report, creating a savings plan, identity theft and retirement.
NUCERT (Community Emergency Response Team
Participants volunteer to be trained responders for communities that have faced short-term or long-term disaster and devastation. Spearheaded by Norwich students after disaster struck much of Vermont during Tropical Storm Irene, this team is partnered with Central Vermont CERT teams, and stands ready should a community request assistance with temporary housing, traffic control, pedestrian safety and food or supply collections.