An academic and experiential program for students who aspire to active citizenship
With help from the Citizen Engagement Fellow, students select a local service site to volunteer approximately three hours/week throughout the school year. Students select a site from an array of agencies based on community need and your personal interest. Examples include tutoring, mentoring, W&M Campus Kitchen, local assisted living centers, Housing Partnerships, Habitat ReStore, Literacy for Life, and more. Transportation will be provided to all sites.
Students will take one class each semester. During the fall semester students enroll in Community Engagement in Context. Taught by Melody Porter, the 3-credit course blends academics with practical experience. Alongside the Aim 4 cohort, students will apply their service experience to develop an understanding of self, others and community to grow as an active citizen and effective leader. Through readings, discussion, lecture and reflection, students will gain an understanding of respect and mutuality, active citizenship, identity and privilege, how to work for social justice, the importance of relationships in community, advocacy and activism and social change.
In the spring students enroll in Active Citizenship in Higher Education. This course blends group dialogue, speakers, hands-on activities, problem-solving workshops, and collaborative action in pursuit of a deepened understanding of the core components of effective activism, leadership, and social change in the context of higher education communities. Students will critically engage with and explore their values, goals, and personal strengths so that they may see themselves as the change-makers they wish to become. Throughout the semester, students will be encouraged to consider the ways in which their roles as young adults and students impact their identities and capacities as active citizens.
The Citizen Engagement Fellow meets with the Aim 4 cohort each week to discuss students progress at the volunteer site, to consider root causes of social concerns as well as evaluate the role each student can play in addressing community challenges.
Community Engagement Planning
Each student will develop a four-year community engagement plan which she/he will share with the entire cohort at the end of the spring semester. The plan will be developed with guidance from the Fellow as well as through discussions with faculty and staff at W&M.
Each student will select five W&M discussions to attend each semester and then report back to the cohort what they heard, what they learned and how they might use the new information to inform their decision-making for their community.
Every member of AIM 4 will have the chance to attend several conferences including the W&M Active Citizens Conference, the North Carolina Campus Compact annual conference, SECon and the National Conference on Citizenship.