Developing Campus Partners to Enhance Community Service

Melissa E. Aponte, Assistant Director of Student Activities and Leadership, Borough of Manhattan Community College

February 8, 2018

The Borough of Manhattan Community College’s (BMCC) volunteer program, BMCC Academy of Leadership and Service: Student Partners Lending Universal Support program (Student PLUS), has seen immense growth and expansion over the last four years.  The program has primarily focused on creating off-campus partnerships with local non-profits that help students connect with opportunities to serve their communities.  At the same time, we have provided on-campus support for a multitude of department’s programs and services by providing volunteers to assist with these initiatives. 

In the last year, Student PLUS has strengthened some of its on-campus partnerships by establishing “tracks” or “focus areas” within the program.  These tracks allow students to associate more intentionally with a particular department and its staff through specialized trainings and volunteer opportunities open only to them.  For example, our “Civic Leadership” track trains, prepares, and travels with students to lobby and speak to governmental officials on behalf of the college.  These students work closely with the department of Government and Community Relations to better understand local, state, and federal funding procedures and the college’s relation to the political process.  By participating in this type of training and serving as college representatives in lobbying efforts, these students are enhancing their level of civic participation and community engagement.

Other partnerships include “Campus Safety Education Program”, “Student Recruitment Program”, and the “Career Explorers Program”.  Through these partnerships Student PLUS members are gaining a better understanding of various departments’ functions, exploring a possible career interest, and understanding that service to the community takes a variety of forms.   The Student PLUS program continues to expand its on- and off- campus partnerships so that we can better serve our campus and local environments as well as provide opportunities for expand their skill sets as future leaders.  Campus partners include: Department of Government and Community Relations, Center for Career Development, Public Safety, and Admissions. 

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