If you represent a community organization or business and are interested in securing assistance from UMF students on a particular project or activity that addresses a high priority need for the community and/or for your organization, this page is for you!
Here are a few things to consider and some hints as to how to secure that help.
- UMF’s Partnership for Civic Engagement is especially interested in supporting high priority projects that build local “capital.” Will your project contribute to a healthier environment, a stronger sense of community, a more vibrant local economy? Will your project enhance “quality of place?” (Please see “Priority Areas” page for more information.)
- The Partnership is also concerned with providing the best possible learning experiences for participating UMF students. We ask you, as a community sponsor, to consider what UMF students might learn through their work on your project. What new knowledge, understanding, or skills might they gain?
Why get involved?
Community sponsors may want to engage with UMF students for a variety of reasons.
Increased capacity to do a project: Community sponsor “A” has a need for a natural features survey to support a land conservation initiative, but has neither the time to do it themselves nor the wherewithal to hire it done. UMF students, with guidance from a faculty member and oversight from the sponsor, undertake the survey. The Sponsor is then able to uses the survey to secure required funding to implement the initiative.
Access to new ideas and technologies: Community sponsor “B” wants to use “social media” to help build consumer interest in a new product line. A UMF intern helps to develop a social dimension for the sponsor’s promotional campaign using Facebook and Twitter to reach a whole new set of potential customers.
Introduction to and training for future employees: Community sponsor “C” takes on a UMF intern who, two years after graduation, returns to run the department they had interned for as an undergraduate.
Undergraduate community engagement activities can take many forms. Please see “Definitions” for an explanation. The Partnership can help you decide on the most appropriate community engagement format for your project.
Whatever the form student engagement takes, the Partnership encourages all parties (students, community sponsors and faculty and staff when these are involved) to consider and articulate desired community impact and learning outcomes, provide for appropriate student support before, during, and following a community engagement experience, and ensure some level of evaluation of and student reflection on the experience.
If you already have a project in mind and have a clear description of the work you would like a UMF student (or students) to do, you may want to post your project on the Partnership’s “Opportunity Board.” To do so, simply complete the online Community Request Form to submit your project to us.
To further develop a job description for the work you would like to get done, and to gain a greater understanding of community sponsor roles and responsibilities, we encourage you to take a look at the Partnership’s Agreement Form. Reviewing the form will help you to design your work project in a way that will serve both you and UMF students well.
Once you have a project defined, the Partnership can assist you in connecting with appropriate UMF students and potentially with faculty and/or staff members, should their assistance be required. Additionally, the Partnership can help support student engagement activities in the following ways:
- Providing “work ready” orientation and training for students.
- Organizing mentoring for students by faculty members and community sponsors.
- Developing evaluation protocols for both student learning and community impact outcomes.
- Developing contracts among students, faculty members, and community sponsors which clearly outline role definitions, work parameters, and desired outcomes.
Timing is Everything (well not quite everything – but very important!)
Community sponsors should be aware of the UMF academic calendar. The time frame for student engagement will be dictated to some extent by this calendar. Again, the Partnership can assist you in planning student engagement in your project to help match your project timeline with potential student availability.
In some cases, though not all, student engagement activities should be planned well in advance. This is especially true with respect to activities for which students are seeking academic credit or financial compensation through UMF. Again, the Partnership can help both the community sponsor and students determine appropriate timing and process in developing the engagement activity.
Students may seek academic credit for their community-based work. Award of academic credit remains entirely the purview of the faculty, with each department retaining its own standards and guidelines in this regard. Students are being advised to engage faculty assistance early on in planning community engagement activities, particularly if they are interested in receiving academic credit for their community-based work. (Note: Students are required to pay for any academic credits they receive through community-based work or service at the normal per credit hour rate.)
Community sponsors are encouraged to consider providing financial compensation to UMF students who provide them with specific work services. While it is understood that community sponsors are offering students learning opportunities of real value, students are highly appreciative of efforts to provide a financial reward for service. (Note: Federal law is precise with respect to conditions allowing unpaid internships with for-profit private businesses. Please refer to the Department of Labor fact sheet for specifics.
The Partnership offers a variety of financial assistance options to help support students engaged in Partnership activities. Students are encouraged to consult with the UMF Financial Aid Office to determine eligibility for scholarships, stipends, and work-study programs, as these may support community-based work activities. The Partnership may be able to help students identify other sources of compensation sufficient to support their community-based activities.
Contact Us:University of Maine at Farmington Partnership for Civic Engagement 105 Fusion Space Farmington, Maine 04938 Telephone: 207-778-7516 or 778-7593 Facsimile: 207-778-7840 TDD: 207-778-7000 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This website is maintained by the Partnership.
It is meant to serve students, faculty, staff, and community sponsors.
Suggestions for improving this site are always welcome.