Written By: Chrispin White, Castleton University Director Center for Civic Engagement 

 

Community Engagement is an umbrella term that describes the many ways in which members of Castleton’s University community (students, faculty and staff) use their skills, talent, and energy to benefit communities within and beyond the University, while at the same time providing Castleton student’s rich, real-world learning experiences. Service-Learning and Civic Engagement activities within academic courses, valuable real-world internships, short-term/long-term volunteer projects and service opportunities performed by athletic teams, clubs and individuals all fall under the umbrella of community engagement. Community Engagement helps students to perceive and better understand both the complex nature of social problems and specific community needs, as well as the measures we can take as individuals and institutions to address these needs. Community Engagement thereby creates partnerships in which students join with a variety of community stakeholders, to work collaboratively to better understand both the problems and their own potential to make a difference locally, nationally and internationally.

In most curricular and co-curricular community engagement activities, potentially transformative experiences enhance professional preparation and a sense of civic agency for our students. At the core of Castleton’s community engagement vision is an understanding that members of the University and community are mutual stakeholders in local and global processes and practices. We all can learn by working together in the spirit of solving problems and enhancing individual and community well-being.

Castleton University has a rich history of community engagement, serving the town of Castleton and surrounding communities, since it’s founding in 1789. This ethos defines Castleton as a University and as a premier public institution in New England. This ideal of community engagement infuses the Castleton education, from the classroom curriculum, to the experiences of residence life, athletics and student activities. As President David Wolk often challenges students, they are taught to “make a difference here, before they make a difference in the world.” This is a motto that the Castleton university community lives by.

For more information about Community Engagement at Castleton University and how you can get involved, please contact Chrispin White, Director of the Center for Community Engagement at (802) 770-7062 or chrispin.white@castleton.edu.