With community service written into the mission and vision of Saint Michael's College, the institution determined to quantify that in actual numbers to participate in The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.
Counting students involved, faculty creating programs, and institutional support, the college determined the number of hours of community service given by Saint Michael's College students during the 2010-2011 academic year – 109,806 hours.
"Service, compassion, and social justice have always been hallmarks of Saint Michael's College" wrote Heidi St. Peter, director of the Saint Michael's College MOVE program, who compiled the data on student service. The MOVE program, Mobilization of Volunteer Efforts, is part of the Saint Michael's College Office of Edmundite Campus Ministry.
Inherent in Saint Michael's vision
The Saint Michael's vision statement focuses on student learning to develop the whole person as an individual and a member of a larger community. And the college curriculum is designed to graduate students "with a commitment to moral responsibility and a desire to improve the human condition through socially conscious citizenship."
Two campus offices focus on service; 27 courses incorporate service
Historically and recently, Saint Michael's faculty have created courses that involve service-learning activities to supplement and enrich outside the classroom volunteer activities at the college. In fact, some 27 Saint Michael's College courses integrate community service specifically into the academic content of the course.
Two campuses offices are dedicated to advancing community engagement amongst Saint Mchael's students. The MOVE office with two full-time staffers, and more than 70 student leaders/work-study students, sponsors 22 local programs and 10 domestic service trips and international service trips during school breaks. The Center for Community-Engaged Learning develops and promotes service-learning with faculty members in and outside of the classroom.
Over $800,000 from the college operating budget supports Community-Engaged Learning programs, Faculty Development Grants, MOVE, Fire and Rescue and partnership programs.
Service learning permeates the Saint Michael's' atmosphere. The recently revised Liberal Studies Curriculum includes a required experiential learning component.
Saint Michael's Fire and Rescue services are well known. Perhaps less well known are the extensive mentorship programs with Winooski schools, programs with New Americans in Chittenden County, and the college's student-run, student-funded philanthropy project (Fix it with Five) which grants $10,000 to a local non-profit each year.
Partnership with Winooski Community and Winooski School District
Because Winooski schools are strapped for resources and serve a high population of low-income and New American families, and because they are Saint Michael's neighbors, the college has a history of well-developed programs serving this community:
- Two sections of first-year seminar students (30) pair one-on-one with refugee students to help them with their classroom activities.
- Two sections of Saint Michael's education courses in Cognition & Individual Differences partnered 27 SMC students with middle and high school teachers to give assistance to students with significant special needs.
- Two anthropology professors and 20 students have worked with a Winooski teen group for several years, developing a new "Girls Only" program from teens, many New American teens, giving safe after-school activities.
- Saint Michael's sponsors five volunteer programs in Winooski schools, three mentoring programs and two programs at the Winooski Community Center.
Total number of participating Saint Michael's College and Winooski students is 163, involved in 5,671 service hours, with four faculty volunteers giving 40 service hours, with an overall total of service to 193 individuals.
Saint Michael's signature Fire and Rescue Squads
The student-run Saint Michael's College fire department and ambulance service serves the Saint Michael's campus and surrounding communities and portions of Interstate 89. The students, certified EMTs, were called 2,081 times in 2010-2011, and responded to 1,828 of those calls, missing only those that came when the squad was on another call. Saint Michael's is the rescue squad of choice for many in the area. The fire unit of Saint Michael's Fire and Rescue responds to about 600 calls a year, operating as a battalion of the Colchester Center Volunteer Fire Company. Some 43 students gave 80,300 service hours on Fire and Rescue, serving some 2,500 individuals.
Numerous other programs in and outside the classroom, including a course promoting a Burundian language-learning partnership, are all part of the Saint Michael's College lived experience. Overall, some 364 students were engaged in academic service-learning; 493 more were engaged in other forms of community service, for a total of 857 students doing service work. Each academic term saw at least 350 students doing 20 or more hours of service work. The total number of all community service hours engaged in by Saint Michael's students was 109,806.