Campus to Community
Mohawk seeks new partners for Campus to Community initiative
Mohawk College is seeking new non-profit partners as it expands its contribution to the Hamilton area through the Campus to Community initiative.
What began as a pilot with three non-profit partners in September 2016 will soon grow its volunteer outreach to 12 community partners.
“The overall goal is to create meaningful connections between Mohawk students and the Hamilton community through direct volunteering outreach,” said Claire Webber, the program’s liaison.
Campus to Community comes out of Mohawk’s strategic plan for student success and engagement, says Wayne Poirier, Vice-President of Student & Alumni Services. “We have taken a strategic approach to providing a terrific work-integrated learning opportunity and fostering an environment of giving. This program is setting students on a path of lifelong volunteering. They find the charities and causes they are passionate about, engage with the community, and act as ambassadors for the College.”
The initiative launched with three community partners, and then grew to six the following year. Ronald McDonald House, Eva Rothwell Centre, Habitat for Humanity, Neighbour to Neighbour, Wesley Urban Ministries, and Stewards of Cootes Watershed are all work directly with Mohawk College students this year, who amassed more than 1,000 volunteer hours by April 2018.
The College has ambitious plans to grow Campus to Community by deepening the connection with existing partners and doubling the roster of partners each year. That means Mohawk is looking for six new non-profits for the 2018-2019 academic year.
“We want to broaden the range of valuable volunteering experience we can offer students. It’s especially great when it can dovetail with their studies or career path,” said Webber. Both college staff and the alumni association wants to get involved as well.
Mohawk is seeking partners for 2018-2019 that can provide at least one volunteering project per semester. Projects can be a part of an ongoing program, such as pitching in at Neighbour to Neighbour’s food bank, or projects can be a one-off event or initiative, such as a tool trailer Mohawk students will help build for the Stewards of Cootes Watershed.
“We make it easy for our partners. We work together to figure out how Mohawk students can help them. We make sure what we are offering makes sense for them and adds value to their organization,” said Webber.
Each Campus to Community partner is linked with a student lead who is responsible for volunteer recruitment, facilitation, and program and event planning. Student volunteer hours are tracked on a Co-Curricular Record, which highlights all aspects of a college experience that don’t appear on a transcript.
Poirier says Campus to Community allows the college and its students to make real connections with people in underserved segments of Hamilton’s population.
“This volunteer program hits our strategic goals of supporting the community, helping neighbourhoods and reducing poverty. That is imprinted in Mohawk’s DNA. We are very proud of being an access college and encouraging everyone to take advantage of what the college can give them. Our senior administration and board of governors are committed to that,” said Poirier.
To apply for a Campus to Community partnership, or to learn more visit mohawkcollege.ca/campustocommunity
What past participants have said about the program.
The partner organizations found that the Campus to Community partnership was valuable to them for a number of reasons:
- Mohawk College provides excellent student volunteers to assist with community-based projects at their locations.
- A Student Lead coordinates the volunteer projects, and there is a staff support system back at the College.
- Partners are offered opportunities to attend the annual Volunteer Fair, have priority in posting their volunteer needs, and build a strong relationship with the college
Mohawk College educates and serves more than 29,500 full-time, part-time, apprenticeship and international students at three main campuses in Hamilton, Ontario and learning hubs across Hamilton through City School by Mohawk, and at the College’s Centre for Aviation Technology at the Hamilton International Airport. Mohawk is among the top five colleges for applied research in Canada. It has been named one of Canada’s greenest employers seven years in a row, holds a GOLD STARS rating from AASHE for sustainability achievements and is home to the country’s largest and first institutional building to receive dual certification for Zero Carbon Building Framework design and performance for The Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation. More than 135,000 people have graduated from Mohawk since it was founded.