Lives of Purpose

Lives of Purpose (LoP), a joint effort of the Colby Volunteer Center and Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, is dedicated to engaging a select group of first-year students in local service and community building around active reflection on ethical and/or religious commitments.

If you’re an incoming student who wants to be involved in the community, develop deep friendships with your classmates, and ask big questions about who we are and what we ought to do, please join us.

Apply online! Applications are due January 4 for Jan Plan/Spring 2020 cohort. If you cannot join us over Jan Plan please apply now to start in the Spring. Contact Kate Smanik, Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life via email or at 207-859-4272 with more questions.


Have a question about LoP?

For more information, contact Kate Smanik, Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life, Paige Begley, Assistant Director of Student Civic Engagement or Alyssa Chesney ’20, program chair.

Lives of Purpose

Who should join LoP?

Any incoming (first-year or transfer) student interested in building community, serving locally, and exploring values at commitments—members of the world’s religious traditions, atheists, agnostics, seekers, or anywhere in between.

What is the commitment?

Students will engage weekly (usually one afternoon or evening) in a local nonprofit focused on food and hunger programs in Waterville and Central Maine. Plan on about three hours per week. Small groups will meet for dinner twice a month. The full group will gather monthly for discussion or gatherings with campus or local leaders.

Why should I join?

Many students come to Colby with a passion for community service and social justice work. Many more come with deep questions about who they are and how to put their talents to work in the world. Lives of Purpose offers a community of first-year students the opportunity to engage substantively with the community while building deep and lasting relationships with peers. The group seeks to form a safe-enough space to delve consistently into big questions of meaning, purpose, and community.

In what ways does LoP engage ‘religious’ questions?

We anticipate that students in the program will encompass a wide variety of religious traditions as well as students who are not religious or not religious in a conventional way. The key aspect of the program is engaging themes of integrity, values, commitment, and social justice. For some students, this will have a religious component. For others it will not. The program is meant to be an open place to discuss, support, and even challenge one another. Our hope is that each person will feel comfortable enriching our discussions with their own personal perspectives.

What should I do next?

Apply online (applications due January 4th) for the Jan Plan/Spring 2020 cohort, or contact Kate Smanik, Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life via email or at 207-859-4272 with more questions.


Meet the People of LOP

Alyssa Chesney

Alyssa Chesney

Hello! My name is Alyssa Chesney, I am a QuestBridge junior at Colby, and this is my third year with the Lives of Purpose program. For me, Lives of Purpose emphasizes the importance of people and connections with others—from going to the shelter, to having discussions with fellow LOPers. I am so glad to be back with it again this semester!