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Office of Community Engagement

The Office of Community Engagement seeks to engage members of the broader community and University of Minnesota, Morris students, faculty, and staff in meaningful, reciprocal course-based and co-curricular partnerships.

These partnerships will:

meet identified community needs;
advance the campus mission, learning outcomes, and key campus priorities;
work toward more vibrant, just, and inclusive communities.

The Office of Community Engagement is comprised of the following programs

Academic Service-Learning Program

The Office of Community Engagement helps faculty plan, implement, and assess service-learning projects that fit their course goals and meet documented community needs. We provide faculty training and assist with project planning, pre-service training for students, oversight of projects, assistance with creating and/or leading reflective assignments and activities, and assistance with assessment.

Program Mission

The Academic Service-Learning Program supports classroom experiences that utilize community service, community-based research, or other civic engagement activities along with regular reflection to meet course goals and community needs. The program relates to Morris’s mission in the following areas: “preparing students…who value…civic engagement;” and supporting “outstanding teaching, dynamic learning…public outreach.

Get Involved

Service-learning classes generally begin with an initial meeting between a community partner or faculty member and the service-learning coordinator. To set up a time to meet, contact the Office of Community Engagement.

Bread 'N Bowls

Bread ’N Bowls is an annual awareness event in late April or early May. Community members are invited to purchase a handmade bowl and light meal to benefit Someplace Safe, The Stevens County Food Shelf, and the Prairie Renaissance Cultural Alliance’s children’s programming. The event is held in the Morris Area Elementary School cafeteria. Local artists, UMM Ceramics students, Morris Area High School Art Club members, and local restaurants, businesses, and places of worship provide donations of handmade bowls, soup, bread, and dessert to make this event possible.

Program Mission

Bread ’N Bowls seeks to:

1. Raise awareness of violence and poverty in the regional community;

2. Celebrate the role of the arts and community-building in creating and maintaining a healthy, affirming, inclusive community; and

3. Provide meaningful service-learning and volunteer opportunities to UMM and high school art students.

Get Involved

Local businesses, places of worship, and individuals interested in donating food or supplies or volunteering should contact the Office of Community Engagement.

En Español

Bread ’N Bowls, o Pan y tazón es un evento anual que se realiza con la misión de incrementar la conciencia social. Este evento se efectúa a finales de abril o en los primeros días de mayo. Miembros de la comunidad son invitados a comprar un tazón de cerámica y una cena pequeña para contribuir a “Someplace Safe,” el “Stevens County Food Shelf,” y los programas para niños del Prairie Renaissance Cultural Alliance. El evento tiene lugar en la cafetería de la escuela primaria de Morris. Artistas del área, estudiantes de cerámica de UMM, miembros del club de arte de la escuela secundaria, restaurantes locales, negocios y lugares religiosos dan donaciones de los tazones de cerámica hechos a mano, sopa, pan y también postre, y estas donaciones hacen que este evento sea posible.

Community Engagement Employment and Leadership Opportunities 

The Office of Community Engagement would not exist if it weren’t for an amazing group of student leaders. These leaders are paid through work-study, MSAF, or other funds and/or take on unpaid leadership roles as lead volunteers or for-credit internships. The leaders’ program provides training, reflection, and community-building opportunities for students interested in taking a leadership role in community engagement.

Program Mission

The mission of the Community Engagement Student Leaders’ Program is to provide leadership, training, and reflection opportunities for UMM students particularly invested in community engagement as work-study, MSAF, or institutionally-funded student employees of the office; interns or lead volunteers; or service-learning teaching assistants. This program relates to Morris’s mission in that it helps prepare “global citizens who value and pursue intellectual growth, civic engagement, intercultural competence, and environmental stewardship.”

Get Involved

Paid positions are posted at the UMM Student Employment site. Those interested in serving as a volunteer or intern should contact the Office of Community Engagement to discuss opportunities.

Community ESL Program

Volunteer ESL teachers—including both UMM students and community members—work together to plan and implement English classes for Spanish-speaking residents of West Central Minnesota. Six levels of English classes for non-native English speakers are held on Monday and Thursday evenings from 7:30–8:45 p.m. in Imholte Hall at UMM. In addition, less formal community ESL classes are held on Wednesday nights from 6–9 p.m. at Morris Area Elementary School and Friday afternoons from 1–2:30 at Federated Church.

Program Mission

The Community ESL Program’s mission is:

1. to provide UMM students and community members with opportunities to plan and implement lesson plans for non-native speakers of English, particularly targeting new Latino immigrants;

2. to provide opportunities for UMM students to develop intercultural competence, critical thinking, and leadership and collaboration skills; and

3. to provide quality English language classes to new Latino immigrants to improve their ability to participate as fully as possible in the county professionally, civically, and personally.

The program relates to Morirs’s mission in that it helps to prepare students “to be global citizens who value and pursue intellectual growth, civic engagement, [and] intercultural competence.”

Get Involved

ESL tutors and teachers must have completed a 12 hour training, offered at the start of each semester in Morris by the Minnesota Literacy Council. They then attend an organizational meeting to determine a specific class level and role. Once teams are formed at the start of each semester, each team works together to plan and implement lessons each week; tutors must commit to teaching or assisting with at least one class each week. Monthly reflection meetings and ongoing trainings and class observations/feedback are provided.

En Español

Instructores voluntarios de inglés como segundo idioma, incluyen tanto estudiantes de UMM como también miembros de la comunidad. Juntos trabajan para planear e implementar clases de inglés para los residentes hispanohablantes de esta área de Minnesota. Hay seis niveles de clases de inglés que se imparten los lunes y jueves de 7:30 a 8:45 p.m. en Imholte Hall en la universidad. Además, hay clases menos formales de inglés los miércoles de 6 a 9 p.m. en el edificio de la escuela primaria de Morris y también de 1 de la tarde a - 2:30 en Federated Church.

Fall Day of Service

The Fall Day of Service, held on or near the Labor Day holiday each year, provides students with an opportunity build community by serving together in short-term service projects, reflecting on their service, and sharing a meal.

Program Mission

The mission of days of service are to:

1. meet direct service needs in the regional community that require small or large groups of volunteers for short periods of time; and

2. introduce students to the history, mission, activities, and volunteer needs of a particular agency, as well as the social issues that affect that agency’s work.

How to Get Involved

Community partners interested in being service site for this day of service should contact the Office of Community Engagement. Register for the next day of service.

Gather in the Park

Gather in the Park is an annual domestic violence awareness event in October that is co-sponsored by Someplace Safe and the Office of Community Engagement. Each year, educational programming offers an inclusive understanding of the impact of domestic violence in the region. The event also includes children’s activities and a light meal. All members of the community are encouraged to attend, and the date and location are widely advertised in regional media.

Program Mission

Gather in the Park seeks to:

1. raise awareness of domestic violence in the regional community;

2. celebrate the role of community-building in creating and maintaining a healthy, affirming, inclusive community; and

3. provide meaningful service-learning and volunteer opportunities to UMM students and community members.

Get Involved

All members of the community are encouraged to attend this event, and the date and location are widely advertised in regional media. Gather in the Park is a service-learning project coordinated by students in a UMM Intellectual Community course, with additional volunteers assisting with planning and set up and serving as guest speakers. For more information, contact the Office of Community Engagement.

En Español

Gather in the Park, o Reunión en la parque, es un evento anual que tiene como meta incrementar el conocimiento acerca de la violencia doméstica. Este evento ocurre en octubre y está patrocinado por Someplace Safe y la Oficina de Compromiso Comunitario. Cada año, este programa educativo ofrece información del impacto de la violencia doméstica en ésta región de Morris. El evento también incluye actividades para niños y una cena pequeña. Todos los miembros de la comunidad son animados a atender, y la fecha y lugar son anunciados en diferentes medios de comunicación en la región.

Como puedes estar involucrado: Todos los miembros de la comunidad son alentados a asistir a este evento. La fecha y el lugar son anunciados en diferentes medios de comunicación en la región. Gather in the Park es un proyecto de estudiantes de UMM, con voluntarios adicionales que ayudan con la planificación y la organización. Para más información, contacte a la Oficina de Compromiso Comunitario en engagmnt@morris.umn.edu.

Martin Luther King, JR. Day of Service

Martin Luther King, JR. Day of Service

Program Mission

Martin Luther King Day of service honors the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by providing students and community members with the opportunity to learn and serve together through projects designed to reflect Martin Luther King Jr’s. life and legacy. The mission of days of service are to:

1. meet direct service needs in the regional community that require small or large groups of volunteers for short periods of time; and

2. introduce students to the history, mission, activities, and volunteer needs of a particular agency, as well as the social issues that affect that agency’s work.

Get Involved

Community partners interested in being service site for this day of service should contact the Office of Community Engagement. Register for the next day of service.

Día del Servicio de Martin Luther King, Jr.

En Español

El MLK Día del servicio es el único día feriado nacional que se acata como un día nacional del servicio. El MLK Día del servicio es parte de United We Serve, y el Presidente hace un llamado nacional para incrementar el servicio comunitario. Este evento fue establecido como parte de la asociación entre la comunidad y la universidad para celebrar la vida y las enseñanzas del Reverendo Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Miembros de nuestra diversa comunidad en Morris se congregan en varios lugares de la comunidad para aprender de temas acerca de la comunidad, participar en proyectos de servicio y educativos, hablar con los invitados especiales que dan discursos ese día y presentadores y compartir una cena juntos.

MORRIS COMMUNITY MEAL

Morris Community Meal is served from 5:30–7:00 on four to six Monday evenings each year, usually at Faith Lutheran Church at 108 W. 8th St. in Morris; everyone is welcome to come and enjoy a warm, healthy meal! Dates for the meals are widely advertised in regional media. Volunteers, including UMM students and community members, work together to sponsor, plan, cook, and serve each meal.

Program Mission

The mission of Morris Community Meal is to:

1. provide students, faculty/staff, and community partners with an opportunity to plan, cook, and serve a meal together in an atmosphere in which everyone is a learner and a teacher;

2. to promote cooking healthy meals with local ingredients;

3. to provide a free, healthy meal to those who cannot otherwise easily afford one; and

4. to provide an opportunity for fellowship among people who might not otherwise interact.

The program relates to Morris’s mission in that it helps students to “value…civic engagement, intercultural competence, and environmental stewardship.”

Get Involved

Volunteers are needed to help with meal planning on an ongoing basis and to help with meal prep, cooking, serving, and cleaning from 2:00–9:00 on the Sunday before and day of the meal. Community meal is funded by the generous support of community organizations and businesses, and we are always interested in new partnerships. To inquire about co-sponsoring a meal or helping with meal planning contact the Office of Community Engagement. Sign up to help with the next meal.

En Español

La Cena Comunitaria de Morris se sirve de 5:30–7 p.m. y se realiza seis noches cada año, usualmente en la Faith Lutheran Church, que está ubicada en 108 W. 8th St. en Morris. ¡Todos están bienvenidos a compartir y a comer una cena gratis y sana! Voluntarios, incluyendo estudiantes de UMM y miembros de la comunidad, trabajan juntos para apoyar, planear, cocinar y servir cada cena.

Como puedes participar: Necesitamos voluntarios para ayudar a planear la cena y también para ayudar a preparar, cocinar, servir y limpiar desde las 2:00 p.m. hasta 9:00 p.m. el domingo antes y también el día de la cena. Esta cena es posible gracias al apoyo generoso de organizaciones y negocios de la comunidad, y siempre estamos interesados en asociaciones nuevas. Si quiere involucrarse, puede contactar a la Oficina del Compromiso Comunitario, engagmnt@morris.umn.edu.

Soup and Substance

Between four and six times each academic year, the Office of Community Engagement sponsors a dialogue about social issues affecting our community, with co-sponsorships from community and campus organizations. The event began as a student initiated series focused on issues of diversity and oppression. Today, we continue to focus on how to make the campus and community more welcoming and inclusive through this series.

Program Mission

The mission of Soup and Substance is to:

1. provide opportunities for community partners and campus entities (disciplines, offices, or student organizations) to collaborate on planning a dialogue about

2. important community issues related to privilege and oppression;
to provide UMM students with facilitation training and opportunities to practice facilitation and meaningful conversation skills;

3. to provide attendees from the campus and community with information about ways to get involved in efforts to create social change in the community.

This program relates to Morris’s mission in that it promotes “civic engagement and intercultural competence” and contributes to “collaboration and a deep sense of community.”

Get Involved

We welcome co-sponsorships by student or community organizations. To suggest a topic or offer to co-sponsor or co-facilitate, please complete this short form. Look at the campus events on the calendar for dates and topics.

We welcome co-sponsorships by student or community organizations. To suggest a topic or offer to co-sponsor or co-facilitate, please complete this short form. Look at the campus events on the calendar for dates and topics

Student-Initiated Projects (Apply for support and funding!)

Individual students, student organizations, athletic teams, and residential life communities can work with Office of Community Engagement to plan individual or group projects. Funding is available by application for these projects to pay for travel costs, supplies, and other needs.

Program Mission

The Office of Community Engagement assists individual students, residential life communities, and student organizations with creating and sustaining partnerships with local community agencies that build civic and professional skills and meet community needs. These may include short-term, ongoing, or long-term volunteer opportunities or projects linking with our regional community.

Get Involved

To learn about projects that might be of interest to you, complete the volunteer interest form. To apply for funds for a project, complete the Community Engagement Fund application.

Trick or Can

Around Halloween each year, UMM students dress up and go trick or treating for food and money donations for the Stevens County Food Shelf, located right across the street from campus. Our goal is to raise the equivalent of 1,000 pounds of food in donations and cash; cash is especially useful because staff can purchase items that are requested by those in need.

Program Mission

The mission of Trick or Can is to collect money, food, and toiletries for families and individuals who utilize the Stevens County Food Shelf, and to raise awareness among UMM students and within the community about regional poverty.

Get Involved

The Trick or Can date is widely publicized, and community members are encouraged to be at home on that evening or to leave donations outside their front doors. UMM students can get involved by contact the Office of Community Engagement or signing up.

Tutoring, Reading, and Enabling Children (TREC)

TREC is a long-standing partnership that provides UMM students with opportunities to tutor and mentor children in pre-K through Grade 6. TREC tutors are work-study, volunteer, or academic service-learning students serving at a variety of sites, including the Morris Area Child Care Center, in-class tutoring at the Morris Area School District, and tutoring and mentoring activities the Zone, an after-school program at the Morris Area Elementary School. In addition, TREC tutors read and lead activities for pre-K students during Storytime at the Library at the Morris Public Library, and provide literacy activities and tutoring for children during adult ESL classes and other opportunities for Spanish-speaking community members.

Program Mission

TREC’s mission is to:

1. promote literacy in school-aged children;

2. to provide school-aged children with meaningful tutoring and mentoring experiences; and

3. to provide UMM students with meaningful work-study, volunteer, and service-learning opportunities.

Get Involved

At the start of each semester, available TREC work-study positions are listed on the UMM Student Employment website. In addition, an orientation session, followed by a training, is offered at the start of each semester for volunteers. Finally, some courses include TREC as a service-learning project option. TREC tutors commit to serving at least once each week and to monthly reflection meetings and ongoing trainings.

En Español

TREC es un asociación que ha sido establecida para darle a los estudiantes de UMM oportunidades de ser tutores y mentores de niños de preescolar hasta el sexto grado. Los tutores de TREC trabajan en una variedad de sitios, incluyendo la guardería del área de Morris También son tutores en clase en las escuelas, y son tutores y mentores en los actividades del Zone, un programa después de clase en la Escuela Primaria del Área de Morris. Además, los tutores de TREC leen y dirigen actividades para estudiantes pre-K durante “Storytime at the Library,” en la biblioteca de Morris. También tienen actividades de alfabetización y ayuda académica para niños durante los clases de inglés como segundo idioma para adultos y otras oportunidades para los miembros hispanohablantes de la comunidad.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Days

Through two events each fall, Butterfly Tagging and Seed Harvesting, UMM students and community members can support the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s mission: “working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.” If you would like to spend a day outside on the beautiful prairie doing good work, this is the project for you!

Program Mission

The mission of days of service are to:

1. meet direct service needs in the regional community that require small or large groups of volunteers for short periods of time; and

2. introduce students to the history, mission, activities, and volunteer needs of a particular agency, as well as the social issues that affect that agency’s work.

The Office of Community Engagement assists individual students, residential life communities, and student organizations with creating and sustaining partnerships with local community agencies that build civic and professional skills and meet community needs. These may include short-term, ongoing, or long-term volunteer opportunities or projects linking with our regional community.

Get Involved

These service days are widely advertised to UMM students and the broader community; however, weather and other factors affect the dates each year. Sign up for the next U.S. Fish and Wildlife Day of Service.

Volunteer Placements

Students interested in making an ongoing volunteer commitment at a community organization, non-profit, or governmental agency can connect to these opportunities through the Office of Community Engagement.

How to Get Involved

To learn about projects that might be of interest to you, complete the volunteer interest form.

Volunteer Opportunities

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