by Merith Weisman
Happy Summer! Summer at SSU is a time for reflection and planning for the next academic year. It's a slower time here, while in the community, work continues at its regular high speed. As a result, it's a time when I find I am least successful in addressing community requests.
Community partners contact me all the time with requests for collaboration. While the CCE is able to address some of these requests directly, generally, we serve as the next to last stop for connecting with others, both internal and external to SSU. Of course, you are always welcome to contact us directly to discuss collaboration. This blog post can help you to skip the CCE step and connect directly, if you so choose.
Why we refer out: I see connecting - with other resources within and outside of SSU as very much part of the "reciprocity" focus of our mission. My favorite part of my job tends to be when I get to see or help two or more community partners collaborate to address their own challenges. Generally, I refer outside the CCE due to requests being either unaligned with our academically focused mission, too time sensitive for us to reasonably expect to be successful, or for internships, which are handled by individual academic departments.
Interns: The most common request that I get is for interns. You can learn more about how to recruit for interns here.
Often I get requests for support that don't distinctly provide students or faculty with clear academic learning. The work is, of course, still valuable and necessary and may provide the server with other valuable experience. However, since the CCE is part of academic affairs, our mission focuses on providing community collaborative academic experiences. To connect on shorter-term or less academic projects, consider:
- Join Us Making Progress (JUMP) the student community service organization, has a Service Days calendar. Be sure to contact email@example.com early to get on the schedule. JUMP can also help you connect with fraternities, sororities and other student organizations that do community service. For more information, contact Jodi.firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Volunteer Center of Sonoma County (VCSC) promotes volunteerism and strengthens community service efforts in Sonoma County. For one-day events, contact Rachael McDavid (email@example.com). For court referred volunteers contact Tabatha Worthy (firstname.lastname@example.org). For the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, contact Laurie Parish (email@example.com).
- The Sonoma County Time Bank (SCTB) is an excellent resource for recruiting volunteers for short-term needs. You can learn more about how organizations can use time banking here.
- If you are looking for support with a 6-8 week physical project,
such as building, construction, or environmental restoration please
consider connecting with AmeriCorps NCCC .
- If you are looking to get information out about your organization, consider tabling on campus.
Sometimes I get requests that are quite academic in scope, but are simply too time sensitive for the CCE to serve as an excellent collaborator. Organizations regularly request support with strategic, marketing or business plans, program assessment, assistance with Board of fund development, etc. - roles that SSU service-learners have been quite successful fulfilling.However, as these service-learning projects are integrated into the course syllabus, if I get this request in the summer, the earliest a product will be completed is in December. If I get a request in September after the syllabi have been set up, the wait may be until May or beyond. Sometimes this is fine, when it's not, I tend to refer to:
- The Minerva Project, consultants who provide pro bono support to nonprofits.
- SCTB has skilled members who can assist with writing, social media, etc.
- VCSC has skilled volunteers. As above, contact Rachael McDavid.
Finally, occasionally I am asked about other schools.
- What does SRJC do? The SRJC has a class that constructs web sites and others that provide other services. Please contact them directly.
- How about local high schools? All local high schools have community
service graduation requirements. Contact them directly if you would like
to learn their recruitment policies.
In conclusion, the CCE provides some things quite well and serves as the next to last stop for accessing the resources of SSU. Of course, you are welcome to contact us directly at any time and we will happily help you navigate the University.