So you want to build Community Connections?
Here are some tips to get started! Building community connections and becoming engaged off-campus creates many opportunities for students — to work in advocacy and outreach, gain valuable skills, and create professional networking connections. Creating relationships with the community also opens doors for finding a job after graduation and can benefit future Clark students and Worcester community for years to come. If you're looking to reach out and become involved in the community, consider the following steps.
- Drop by the Community Engagement office. Stop in to the ASEC any Monday through Thursday between 2 and 4 p.m. to discuss opportunities to become involved with community organizations.
- Make an appointment. Micki Davis, Director of Community Engagement, and Ben Gardner, Coordinator of Student Programs, will help you to find or create an opportunity that suits your own interests as well as the needs of the community. Come to your appointment prepared to talk about your personal and academic passions. For example, if you are interested in youth development, the Community Engagement staff will likely advise that you connect with a local mentoring organization.
- Attend the Community Engagement and Internship Fair. Each September, representatives from local organizations come to Clark in order to connect with students who are interested in volunteer work, activism, advocacy, and outreach. The fair is a fun and effective way to learn about organizations, network, and explore what areas of volunteering and community outreach excite and inspire you.
- Check out Clark Recruiter. The Clark Recruiter is the LEEP Center's job, internship, and volunteer database and is a platform that allows students to stay up-to-date on community organizations looking to connect with Clark students. If you are unable to attend the Community Engagement and Internship fair in September, this is an alternate way to get in touch with Worcester organizations or organizations that Clark has partnered with in the past.
- Connect with your LEEP adviser. Your LEEP adviser can also help you to explore your areas of interest and create connections within the community. Keep in mind that this community does not have to be in Worcester!
- Consider creating a LEEP Project. LEEP Projects allow you to work with an organization of your choosing on a self-designed project. These projects range from independent research projects to supervised internships. LEEP Projects create close ties between organizational sponsors and Clark University students. Creating a LEEP project would introduce you to a new community organization and allow you to become involved in off-campus experiential learning.
- Connect with your Faculty adviser. Your faculty adviser will likely have connections to some local organizations already. If you wish to become involved in the community, ask your FA if they can connect you to an organization or know of any volunteer opportunities.
- Talk to your peers. Your peers are some of your best resources in building community connections. Chat with fellow students who have already worked in the community or have an off-campus job, internship, or volunteer position. Ask them how they built these connections, what the benefit has been in working with community partners, and how these experiences have affected their personal and academic trajectories.
- Check out student clubs. Oftentimes, Clark University student clubs are very involved with local organizations and community partners. Some examples of community-minded clubs are All Kinds of Girls (AKOG), Clark University Brothers and Sisters (CUBS), and Clark University Student Action for Refugees (STAR). The LINK website has a full list of student organizations with full descriptions. Browse the website and see which community-minded club matches your skills and interests.