By Carrie Henderson
For recent ECSU graduate Monique Harris, the opportunity to volunteer as an AmeriCorps*VISTA at her alma mater wasn’t just a job – it was a call to service.
Harris is among 31 NC Campus Compact VISTAs – Volunteers in Service to America – working in university and college campuses across the state of North Carolina. For a year, VISTAs act as “glue” between the campus and the community: by coordinating community service events, establishing new community partnerships and mobilizing students and faculty to get involved with service-learning courses in an effort to create sustainable change on their campuses. But their responsibilities don’t stop there.
Dr. Anthony Brown, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at ECSU, recognizes the importance of tailoring activities to meet the needs of the community, and the value of having someone who is laser-focused on coordination: “Our mobilization plan includes a variety of activities for students, faculty and staff to engage the community. Monique helps coordinate our efforts to meet the particular needs of Elizabeth City.”
At ECSU, Harris is looking into creating a new alternative spring break trip with Habitat for Humanity, a clothing drive to benefit local nonprofits and strengthening the Community Emergency Response Teams already in place.
Jonathan Romm, Program Coordinator at NC Campus Compact, emphasizes the importance of VISTAs starting things that campuses can keep going: “VISTAs help lay the foundation or bolster current service engagement activities and programs for students, staff, faculty, staff and the community. Our hope is the projects are sustainable and continue on once VISTAs have completed their service."
NC Campus Compact is a coalition of colleges and universities collaborating to increase campus-wide participation in community and public service. The current VISTAs serve 29 campuses across the state, including 10 UNC campuses: ECSU, ECU, FSU, NCCU, NC State, UNC-CH, UNCG, UNCP, UNCW and WCU.
In 2007-2008, NC Campus Compact VISTAs equipped 6400 volunteers, supported 22,000 volunteers serving 412,209 hours and generated over $170,000 in donations for local work.
Harris is excited about the opportunity to serve in the coming year: “I’ve always been interested in serving my community through volunteerism. I look forward to continuing my service as a VISTA and building sustainable relationships over the next year.”
For further information about NC Campus Compact, please contact:
Program Coordinator, NC Campus Compact
For further information about ECSU, please contact:
Dr. Anthony Brown
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, ECSU