Academic and Community Engagement (ACE) has grown from a small staff with the founding Siena College AmeriCorps VISTA Fellows Program to nine staff members and more than 200 students and 30 postgraduates involved in community engagement initiatives.
Opportunities for undergraduates to engage with the community have grown. ACE now offers a Certificate in Community Development as well as new fellowship and leadership opportunities.
Recently, ACE partnered with State Employees Federal Credit Union (SEFCU) to announce the Nonprofit Excellence, Consulting Services, and Training (NEXT) opportunity for undergraduates to take their community engagement interest to the next level.
Involves more than 200 students a year in long-term, academically grounded service at local nonprofits
$1 of donation/investment transforms into $2.75 of impact on not-for-profit partners
ACE works with more than 30 not-for-profit partners
Sociology major, Broadcast and Society minor, Community Development certificate
George Lopez spends 8-10 hours of service each week during the school year at Green Tech Charter School, a high school for boys in Albany. He helps the students, many of whom will be first generation college students, prepare for college. “ACE became my second family in a way,” he said.
Director of ACE,
Associate Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies
Mathew Johnson’s passion for academic community engagement started as an undergrad at Siena College. “There’s not a tradeoff between academics and service,” he says. “One feeds the other and drives the student forward to achieve great things.”
In 2012, the Dake Family and Stewart’s Shops made the lead gift in excess of $1 million to Siena and the Office of Academic Community Engagement (ACE). “You’ve got young talent who see things in a totally different way. Hopefully they can identify solutions that are not being practiced or enhance solutions that are in process.”
Academic Community Engagement ($1,000,000)
Endow $50,000 of the executive director’s compensation and receives overall program naming rights.
The Dake Family/Stewarts Shops Summer Gear-Up Program (The Dake Family/Stewarts Shops)
Brings incoming freshmen community service award recipients to campus a week early to prepare them for the Siena College student experience as deeply engaged student service leaders.
Capital Region Summer Service Scholars Program ($25,000 each)
Supports current Siena students who propose a full-time summer service project in collaboration with a local Capital Region nonprofit.
International Summer Service Scholars Program ($25,000 each)
Supports current Siena students who propose a full-time international summer service project in collaboration with one of Siena’s international nonprofit partner organizations.
Annual Senior Service Scholar Symposium ($40,000)
Supports an annual event to recognize the significant achievements of Service Scholars in their integrated academic and service senior projects.
National Service Networking Fund ($25,000 each)
Supports the participation of Service Scholars in regional and national conferences focused on service and civic engagement and community development efforts of higher education.
Rural Poverty Service Program ($25,000 each)
Supports student participation in service trips that exposes them to the unique challenges and solution to rural poverty in America. Endow students travel for one week to a rural area for service project. Students currently pay half of the travel and living costs.
Community Development Think Tank (SEFCU NEXT Program)
Supports student leadership and research to develop answers to challenges faced by community development nonprofits in the Capital Region. Cost to support research and work of 50-75 students annually. This is currently funded out of existing endowment or College operating budget.
The Dake Family/Stewarts Shops Fellows Program (The Dake Family/Stewarts Shops)
Supports four graduating Service Scholars for a postgraduate year of service in the Capital Region who propose innovative community development projects and will utilize the year to implement those projects. This is currently funded by annual federal grant and income generated by the work of the postgraduates.