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Student-led opportunity to help clubs serve the community

(From left to right) NCC Students: Margaret Richter, Sara Reichard and Sabrina Moll

When it first opened, the Center for Civic and Community Engagement set off on a plan to energize a fledgling spark of community service within the NCC community.

“I’d really like to have groups of students participate in sustainable service projects,” Center Director Deb Bohr said in January of 2015.

Now, almost two years later, that hope is becoming a reality.

Three NCC students joined to form a new grant opportunity, especially for clubs with a desire to serve the community.

Using money remaining in the initial grant from Martin Guitar that gave birth to the Center, the goal of the project is to support clubs with the resources needed to complete community service projects. No such guidance previously existed.

One of the project’s founders, Sara Reichard said, “Clubs would bounce around from one project idea to another, or not have a firm grip of exactly what they want to do.”

That’s where the Center comes in. The biggest challenge is getting clubs to understand what a project is. Particularly that it may not mean the construction of an object or facility, or a large sum donation.

Any volunteer-based activity that fulfills a need in the community, be it poverty, education or any other area of concern, falls within the realm of community service. Once the clubs know what issue they want to tackle, the Center works to help find what drives them to want to solve their chosen issue.

“Deb is very good at connecting clubs to their passion,” said Sabrina Moll, one of the grant analysis and founding students of the project.

The Center’s director doesn’t take all the credit though.

“I can’t emphasize how dedicated these young women are to this project,” Bohr said referring to Education Major Sara Reichard, Business Administration Major Sabrina Moll, and Social Work Major Margaret Richter.

After being contacted by Bohr in the spring semester, the students spent the summer learning about the intricacies of grant writing and management.

“We’re passionate about our cause. Deb has given us an amazing opportunity to learn about grant applications and the writing process,” Moll said. “I’m nineteen and I’ve already written requests for proposals and requests for applications.”

The project’s already making waves, with eight separate clubs or independent student collectives (aligned with a faculty champion) that inquired about applications. Several grants between $100-400 will be awarded, for projects that will implement them between Jan. 21 and April 30 of 2017.

Clubs are welcome to supplement the grant with their own money. Application submissions are open to all three of Northampton’s campuses until midnight on Nov. 11.

The founders were hopeful for future growth from its roots.

“We wanted a group of students together that have an interest in community service,” Bohr said regarding the project’s goal, “And provide them leadership opportunities dedicated to serving the community.”

With the Center’s resources and student team’s efforts, more accomplishments are sure to come.

Clubs or Student groups interested in applying for the grant may visit bit.ly/ncc-rfa and bit.ly/ncc-rfp, or visit the Center for Civic and Community Engagement in College Center 236.

For More Information, contact Sara Reichard at srreichard@nullspartan.northampton.edu