Do you do a lot for the community and often go above and beyond to help out in the community? And wouldn’t you like recognition for those efforts to possibly help show future employers how hard you work? Well, now you have that opportunity. With help from a grant given by the David Education Foundation, Castleton State College is now offering a Civic Engagement Certificate.
A committee consisting of Assistant Academic Dean Tony Peffer and professors Melisse Pinto, Cathy Van Yperen, Lilian Jackson, Dave Blow, and Dennis Shramek has been working hard for three years meeting with each other, students, the Student Government Association and even other colleges with similar programs to create this Civic Certificate.
There are special requirements needed to be able to be eligible to get the certificate including attending a two-hour orientation and training session, completing four civic engagement course, completing 160 hours of approved fieldwork, and completing a paper or project at the end. Details are explained in-depth on page 12 of the 2010-2011 student handbook.
“The certificate is designed to fit any major or political background; it is something that doesn’t limit students,” Peffer said in a recent interview. “The four courses that are required can be classes that students have to already take because of their frames or majors; they are not four extra courses.
“The hours of service can be part of a club, course, or even sport simply anything that is approved.”
The part that excites Peffer is that it teaches any interested student how to be a leader in his or her community and said “the purpose of the certificate is for any Castleton graduate to get and learn skills needed to be an agent for positive change in the community.”
As part of the research for the certificate program, the committee visited to Wagner College in Staten Island to see how their civic engagement program was run. There professor David Blow met a girl from the Rutland area who was starting an orphanage in Kenya, an idea that bloomed from their civic engagement project. Professor Blow said the committee learned a lot from the visit and that it helped form Castleton’s program.
Blow said he believes the certificate simply “rewards students for going above and beyond.
But one student questioned the motive of the certificate, saying civic service shouldn’t need to be rewarded.
“Why would I want a certificate when it’s volunteer work,” stated junior Jessica Lawrenson.
But committee members argue that because the certificate will be on a student’s transcript, it could be the thing that makes the student more marketable to an employer when being considered against other similarly qualified applicants.
“A person involved in the community who makes a positive difference is the kind of person employers want to hire,” Peffer said.
Later this month there will be an informative meeting for students to get together ask questions, learn about the certificate and sign up.