Office of Civic Engagement and Community Partnerships
We believe a student experience focused on engaging with and learning from the community prepares students to enter the world beyond Colby as thoughtful leaders and engaged global citizens. The Office of Civic Engagement and Community Partnerships facilitates opportunities for students and faculty to collaborate with Waterville area non-profit organizations, local government, public schools, and businesses on real-world projects that address some of the city’s most pressing challenges.
The program builds relationships between campus and community through an integrative approach to project-based learning, action research, participatory design, social entrepreneurship, and service that defines the liberal arts experience at Colby and provides students with intellectual and logistical support to participate in society as engaged citizens.
When we encourage students to live and learn at the intersection of academic work and community involvement, we cultivate an engaged citizenry capable of and dedicated to advancing the common good through critical inquiry and public service.
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To help expand its programs to further integrate civic engagement into the curriculum and community, Colby College has received a major campaign commitment to establish the O’Hanian-Szostak Fellows for Civic Leadership. As Colby’s first fund specifically for select student leaders with a significant commitment to civic responsibility, the O’Hanian-Szostak Fellows for Civic Leadership is made possible through the generosity of Trustee Emerita Anne O’Hanian-Szostak ’72 and Michael J. Szostak ’72.
Read the full press release here:
Academic Civic Engagement
Colby provides an extraordinary intellectual and creative experience that positions graduates to solve the most vexing issues of our time. Civic Engagement courses enable students to have an impact in the world through intellectual inquiry, engaged scholarship, creative expression, and meaningful partnerships with community stakeholders.
Through the development of targeted skills and abilities, and forging meaningful relationships with community service organizations Colby students become active learners, leaders, and role models in responding to challenges and opportunities at the local, regional, national, and international levels. The curriculum designs opportunities for Colby students to build civic capacities that complement and strengthen their personal and professional aspirations, and set them apart as leaders in our community and world.
Co-Curricular Civic Engagement
Creating a campus culture of active citizenship requires opportunities for students to engage in service, civic inquiry, and collaborative problem solving beyond the classroom. Co-curricular Civic Engagement initiatives elevate the intellectual challenges Colby offers its students and develops individuals ability to assume leadership roles as students and citizens. Student initiated projects include dedicated days of service, youth mentorship, and semester programs that foster longterm community partnerships and purposeful reflection, the Office of Civic Engagement and Community Partnerships is a pipeline for students looking to place their education squarely in the context of the real world.
Our landmark mentoring program, Colby Cares About Kids (CCAK), pairs up to 500 carefully trained Colby students with K–8 students in 15 partner schools throughout the Waterville area. Building long-term relationships while serving as role models and friends, CCAK mentors help local kids build trust and resilency. And CCAK mentors benefit just as much (if not more) from the experience
Bill and Joan Alfond Main Street Commons
The Bill and Joan Alfond Main Street Commons, and the Chace Community Forum constitute a vibrant residential community of students committed to civic engagement and serve as a cornerstone for engaging stakeholder groups in public programs, community based learning and student engagement activities. Students live alongside faculty, staff, and visiting scholars, and partcipate in co-curricular and academic programs that build on the liberal arts experience and strengths of community partnerships in Waterville and beyond.