December 8, 2019

Get Involved in COAR’s Head Start Gift Box Drive

It’s time for COAR’s annual Head Start Gift Box Drive! Each year we ask students, faculty and staff to fill boxes full of necessities and toys for children 3 to 5 years old in the Head Start programs in Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania schools.

Boxes can be checked out now through Nov. 22 in the University Center Lobby from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. or in the Center for Community Engagement (Suite 320) during normal office hours, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. We can also deliver boxes to you at your office and pick them up as needed. If you would like a box delivered or picked up, please email us at coarumw@gmail.com.

All gift boxes that are checked out will need to be returned by Tuesday, Nov. 26, at 5 p.m.

Required items for the boxes are hats, gloves, scarves, small toys, coloring books, crayons and markers, and small books (all of these items will need to fit inside a shoe box-sized box).

We appreciate your continued support of service at UMW. Thank you and happy holidays!

UMW Students Earn Voter Participation Award

Center for Community Engagement Associate Director Sarah Dewees, A.J. Robinson, Stephanie Turcios and Amber Brown show off UMW’s Platinum Seal award at the 2019 ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge Ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Center for Community Engagement Associate Director Sarah Dewees, A.J. Robinson, Stephanie Turcios and Amber Brown show off UMW’s Platinum Seal award at the 2019 ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge Ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

On the heels of last week’s statewide elections, UMW received the 2019 ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge Platinum Seal for schools with a student voter participation rate above 50 percent. Center for Community Engagement Associate Director Sarah Dewees accepted the award Tuesday with students at a ceremony held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

“I’m proud of our students but not surprised,” said President Troy Paino. “This national recognition reflects just one aspect of the longstanding commitment of Mary Washington’s faculty, staff and students to civic engagement.”

Since its 2016 launch, the challenge, a national initiative, has recognized and supported institutions of higher education in their efforts to achieve full student voter participation, promote an informed electorate and make civic engagement a core value on their campuses. To date, over 6.2 million students and more than 560 colleges and universities have taken the challenge. Read more. 

Mary Washington Casts Vote for Participation on Election Day

Forty-five students registered to vote during UMW’s celebration of National Voter Registration Day. Photo by Matthew Sanders.

Forty-five students registered to vote during UMW’s celebration of National Voter Registration Day. Photo by Matthew Sanders.

When voters from across Virginia voice their opinions at the polls tomorrow, UMW students will be among them. That’s thanks in part to rides being offered all day to students who wish to cast ballots.

“Civic engagement isn’t just an idea at Mary Washington,” said Sarah Dewees, Associate Director of the Center for Community Engagement (CCE), which will provide rides, along with UMW Votes, Citizens for Democracy and other campus groups. “It’s a way of life.”

With a voting rate higher than the national average – and lots of planning and energy – UMW students have worked all year to keep it that way, from prepping voters for trips to the polls to establishing a “2020 Day on Democracy,” allowing classes to be cancelled on Election Day next year.

“When individuals miss their opportunity to vote, they miss their chance to have their voices heard,” said UMW Voting Ambassador Kayli Ottomanelli, a junior who cited issues that matter to undergrads, like tuition rates and student loan debt. “When younger generations don’t turn out to vote, we’re allowing older generations to decide on these significant matters for us.” Read more. 

COAR Invites Faculty/Staff Families to Pumpkin Palooza Oct. 27

Community Outreach and Resources would like to invite you and your families to our second event of the semester, Pumpkin Palooza, on October 27th from 1-4pm. For this event we invite local children and their parents or guardians to enjoy games, fall-themed crafts, and trick-or-treat tours! We encourage both parents and children to come in costume! The event is held in the Chandler Ballroom inside the University Center, and the trick-or-treat tours will take place on campus. This event is free, but we encourage you to bring nonperishable food items for our food drive. We would be honored to see you there! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out!

 

 

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/.