The frigid temperatures did not stop students from attending the Harward Center open house this past Friday, January 11, to learn about the Center’s many opportunities. The purpose of the event was to connect or reconnect students with the off-campus community for the upcoming semester. Information about funded summer activities was also given.
The Bates College Harward Center for Community Partnerships strives to promote civic awareness and action in Lewiston-Auburn and the wider world. The director of the Harward Center, Darby Ray, remarked that the goal of the Center is to “help the Bates community to connect with the outside community.” Students can access community-engaged activities through various facets of Bates, including; academic courses, research, dorm life, athletic teams, and clubs. The Harward Center will make connections between volunteer programs and students’ interests, academic or otherwise. “We are kind of like a matchmaker,” added Ray.
Casey Kelley ’21 is a community outreach fellow. She notes, “It’s really important to be involved in the community where you live.” Kelley is the coordinator for Art Programming. These programs include weekly opportunities with the ArtVan and at Hillview Family Development to work with low income youth on art projects.
If your interests lie with assisting those with disabilities, then you may want to get involved in the Social Learning Center Friendship Program. Bates students get the chance to form a one-on-one connection with a member of the Social Learning Center. Coordinator Maddy Shmalo ’19 described the program as “A very rewarding experience.” The friendships acquired can be gratifying for all parties involved.
George Steckel ’19 has been involved with the Harward Center for all of his time here at Bates and characterizes the center as a family. Steckel is in charge of the Book Buddies program which entails reading to early-elementary aged children who might not have access to books outside of school.
To discover the wide assortment of ongoing and onetime community programs outside of this selection, you can go to the Harward Center website and visit the opportunities page. Contact the community outreach fellows for information if you would like to participate in any of these programs. Most of the locations of the programs can be reached using the Service Learning Shuttle for Community Engaged Learning (CEL) which leaves outside of Chase Hall.
Funded summer opportunities are also available through the Harward Center. The Center has generated a list of non-profit organizations in Lewiston and Auburn that Bates students can spend the summer working for. Students are also encouraged to bring their own ideas for community-engaged experiences that align with their interests. For 8 to 10 weeks or full-time work up, to $4,000 can be earned. For more information, students can visit the Harward Center and speak with Peggy Rotundo. The deadline for applications is March 18.
Students can get involved off-campus in numerous ways. To get on the Community Links email list if you are not already, send an email to Marty Deschaines. The Center encourages students to take community-engaged courses at Bates or participate in community-engaged research. Approximately 50 seniors every year complete their thesis or capstone project in relation to community-engagement.
Bates is fortunate to be situated in the diverse and vibrant Lewiston-Auburn community, and there are a multitude of ways to engage with the members and organizations of L-A. As George Steckel put it, “When you come to Bates, your home becomes Lewiston.”