October 15, 2019

COAR Invites Faculty/Staff Families to Pumpkin Palooza!

Community Outreach and Resources (COAR) invites local children and their parents or guardians to our annual Pumpkin Palooza on Sunday, October 27, from 1PM to 4PM. Come enjoy an afternoon of fall-themed crafts, games, and candy. The event will be held in the Chandler Ballroom inside the University Center, and we will also have trick-or-treat tours in the residence halls throughout the afternoon. Come in costume for a great time! This is a FREE event, but we do encourage you to bring non-perishables for our food drive. We hope to see you and your families there!

Service Project Takes UMW Students ‘Into the Streets’

UMW students gathered in front of the University Center Saturday morning before heading to service projects throughout the Fredericksburg community. Nearly 200 students participated in various volunteer activities throughout the city. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

UMW students gathered in front of the University Center Saturday morning before heading to service projects throughout the Fredericksburg community. Nearly 200 students participated in various volunteer activities throughout the city. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

Early Saturday morning, a wave of 200 blue shirts emblazoned with the words “Little ripples make big waves,”stretched out across the front of the University Center. Wearing the shirts were UMW students gathered for Into the Streets, one of six annual events hosted by UMW’s COAR (Community Outreach and Resources), whose mission is to provide structural support for civic engagement, volunteerism and service.

Into the Streets offers students an array of volunteer opportunities – from landscaping to car washing – and a chance to check out Fredericksburg along the way.

“The goal is to encourage students to explore community service, get to know more about the area where we live, and to give back to the community,” said Sarah Dewees, associate director of UMW’s Center for Community Engagement. Read more.

Into the Streets, Saturday, September 28

COAR members make dog toys for sheltered pets at Into the Streets.

COAR members make dog toys for sheltered pets at Into the Streets.

Sponsored by COAR (Community Outreach and Resources) and the Center for Community Engagement, Into the Streets will be held on Saturday, September 28th, 2019 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. It provides the opportunity for new and returning students to get “Into the Streets.” Students can choose to participate in one of several community service projects at local agencies. Past projects have included building with Habitat for Humanity, yard work for the Fredericksburg community, walking dogs at the SPCA, making meals for the homeless shelter, doing crafts with the elderly at a local retirement facility, and helping out with Friends of the Rappahannock.

The event starts at the University Center Patio, and transportation will be provided to volunteer sites.

A Call to Civic Action: Making a Difference, Sept. 19 at 6PM

The James Farmer Multicultural Center and the UMW Center for Community Engagement invite all UMW students to a special program, A Call to Civic Action: Making a Difference, on Thursday September 19 at 6:00 p.m. in the Chandler Ballroom. At this event, following a welcome by President Troy Paino, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine will engage the audience in a discussion about the importance of the political and civic engagement of college students and the power of being an informed citizen.

Senator Kaine will be followed by a panel discussion with audience members on civic and political engagement featuring Brian Cannon, Executive Director for OneVirginia 2021; Joshua Cole, Political Candidate for Delegate 28th District, former Staff Assistant to the Clerk of the Virginia State Senate; Jacqueline Beaulieu, Organizer for NextGen Virginia; and Julia Romero, Deputy Pod Director for Take the Majority.

Dinner will be provided by Benny’s Pizza.

 

Center for Community Engagement Opens at Mary Washington

Mary Washington freshmen team up with Tree Fredericksburg to mulch trees as part of the CCE’s Day of Service. Photo by Matthew Binamira Sanders.

Mary Washington first-years team up with Tree Fredericksburg to mulch trees as part of the CCE’s Day of Service. Photo by Matthew Binamira Sanders.

On a late August day, Mary Washington first-years were scattered throughout Fredericksburg, mulching gardens, planting trees and cleaning up along the Rappahannock River. Others cared for animals at the SPCA and worked on projects to help area seniors, sexual assault survivors and deployed service members.

These efforts were made possible by UMW’s new Center for Community Engagement (CCE), which officially launches today. Housed in the University Center, it will build bridges – and strengthen existing ones – between Mary Washington and the greater Fredericksburg area, showcase civic and community engagement opportunities and foster partnerships that enhance student learning and encourage positive social change. The Center fits into a larger national movement to make community engagement a top priority in higher education institutions.
Read more. 

Sarah Dewees: Helping Hand

Sarah Dewees, associate director of the Center for Community Engagement, which formally launches Sept. 9. Photo by Suzanne Rossi.

Sarah Dewees, associate director of the Center for Community Engagement, which formally launches Sept. 9. Photo by Suzanne Rossi.

If universities were sorted into Harry Potter houses, Sarah Dewees knows where Mary Washington would land.

“I think of UMW as the Hufflepuff of small liberal arts colleges. Our students have a passion for working in the community, volunteering and making the world a better place.”

While she considers herself a bookish Ravenclaw, Dewees’ dedication to service and volunteerism – and her background in academia and nonprofit work – make her well-suited to be the associate director of the Center for Community Engagement (CCE), which officially launches next week, on Monday, Sept. 9.

Housed in the University Center, CCE promotes civic and community engagement, and supports faculty who are already integrating these types of opportunities into their teaching and research, and those who wish to start. Inspired by President Troy Paino’s strategic vision, Dewees and her CCE colleagues have developed a civic action plan to further the work currently being done in the Fredericksburg area by UMW students and staff.

Dewees and others at CCE have already been helping students think about ways they can serve others – from taking a community engaged class to voting and volunteering. With Virginia’s upcoming elections, CCE is focused on civic participation and will host a National Voter Registration Day on Ball Circle Sept. 24.

“At Mary Washington, we have a tradition of working in and with our communities,” said Dewees, who holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Kentucky. She also manages UMW Votes, Alternative Service Breaks and COAR – Community Outreach and Resources – the student-run organization inspired by the late Mary Washington professor and civil rights icon James Farmer.

“We’re lucky to have Dr. Farmer’s legacy here. He taught us that social justice includes both organizing and good works.”

 

Sarah Dewees, associate director of the Center for Community Engagement, which promotes civic and community engagement, and supports faculty in integrating these types of opportunities into their teaching and research. Photo by Suzanne Rossi.

Sarah Dewees, associate director of the Center for Community Engagement, which promotes civic and community engagement, and supports faculty in integrating these types of opportunities into their teaching and research. Photo by Suzanne Rossi.

Q: Where did you volunteer as a college student?
A: I worked on many political campaigns – handing out literature, knocking on doors and encouraging people to vote. I also interned at nonprofits, including the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, which published the book “Our Bodies, Ourselves.”

Q: What brought you to Mary Washington?
A: My husband, Steve Hanna, has worked at Mary Washington as a geography professor since 1997, and I later joined him here.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
A: Seeing the passion of UMW students.

Q: The most challenging?
A: There are so many opportunities and ideas for getting involved that finding a focus can be overwhelming.

Q: What in your office means the most to you?
A: A Mother’s Day card my son made me when he was 9. It’s now faded, but I still love it.

Q: How do you spend your free time?
A: Everything downtown Fredericksburg has to offer – strolling the streets, coffee at Hyperion, kayaking on the Rappahannock and biking the Heritage Trail.

Q: Did you do anything fun this summer?
A: I visited the Musical Crossroads exhibition at the National Museum of African American History and Culture and saw the P-Funk Mothership. That was pretty amazing.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

Center for Community Engagement Formal Launch Sept. 9

The Center for Community Engagement will have a formal launch on September 9. The featured event is a talk by Dr. Andrew Seligsohn, president of Campus Compact, which supports higher education institutions across the nation as they work to increase collaborative relationships with their communities and support their students to commit to lives of active citizenship. Dr. Seligsohn’s talk will be held in the UC’s Chandler Ballroom at 4 p.m., followed by a reception and open house in the Center for Community Engagement suite (Suite 320, University Center). For more information about the launch or CCE, please visit https://academics.umw.edu/communityengagement/.

Center for Community Engagement Fall Update

Greetings from the Center for Community Engagement – Happy August!

As summer 2019 winds down, and our thoughts turn to the next academic year, we want to let you know about some upcoming events and opportunities – here at the CCE, and in the community around us.

Fred Chats! Want to learn more about our area, in an informal setting with engaging hosts? Come join us for our inaugural “Fred Chat.” The first one will feature leaders from the George Washington Regional Commission, talking with us about what it means to live in a region and some of the important features of our region. Bring a lunch and join us on Tuesday August 13th at noon, in the Colonnade Room in the UC.  We hope to host a chat every month – and would welcome your suggestions on topics & speakers. Join us for the first of our Fred Chats!

Launch: We are hosting a formal launch of the Center on September 9 and would love for you to join us. Our featured event is a talk by Dr. Andrew Seligsohn, the President of Campus Compact. Campus Compact supports higher education institutions across the nation as we work to increase collaborative relationships with our communities, and support our students to commit to lives of active citizenship. His talk with be at 4pm in the Chandler Ballroom in the UC, followed by a reception and an open house in the CCE Suite (Suite 320, University Center).

Volunteer Opportunities: Looking for opportunities for yourself or others to engage in the community? We have begun posting opportunities online, through the “MyUMW portal” at the top left of the UMW homepage. Visit our Opportunity Board on the Center for Community Engagement MyUMW page: https://umw.presence.io/organization/center-for-community-engagement (NOTE, you may need to open this link in a Chrome browser). Or visit the COAR website to learn about COAR programs: https://sandcommeng.wpengine.com/community-outreach-and-resources-coar/

Voter Registration: Want to check your voter registration status or register to vote? Want students to come to your class to talk about civic engagement and voter registration? Send an email to sdewees@umw.edu and she can help you find the resources you need.

Time off for Service: Of particular interest to staff – Did you know that UMW gives all full-time employees up to 16 hours of paid leave to participate in volunteer activities? We have a little info, and a link to the policy here on our website.

Of particular interest to faculty: Please keep an eye out for a community engagement-focused community of practice running this fall – Community Engaged Teaching for Beginners – the call will come from Caitie Finlayson and the Teaching Center. Not a beginner? Want to share ideas and experiences? Holler back, and let’s set up some problem solving/solution celebrating brown bags this year!

Also upcoming: COAR’s Into the Streets community volunteering event on Saturday September 28th; and the roll out of a new campus civic engagement initiative, UMW Votes, throughout the fall.

Do you have any questions, issues or comments? We would love to hear from you. Please contact Leslie Martin at lmartin@umw.edu or Sarah Dewees at sdewees@umw.edu.

Join us for our Fred Chats!

Join us for our first Fred Chat!

The Center for Community Engagement will be hosting the first of many “Fred Chats” on Tuesday August 13th in the Colonnade Room of the UC from noon to 1 p.m. This Brown Bag talk will provide a detailed discussion about the region we live in and some key issues in our broader Fredericksburg community. Speakers Linda Milsaps and Kate Gibson will be joining us from the George Washington Regional Commission. The George Washington Regional Commission is the “planning district commission” established by the General Assembly for the region comprising the City of Fredericksburg and the counties of Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania and Stafford. Please join us with your lunch and your questions and ideas!