All students are encouraged to become active volunteers as part of their college experience with the aim of developing graduates who are “ready, not reluctant” to serve their community and nation.
In keeping with the mission and tradition of Norwich University, students, staff, and faculty engage in a variety of public service activities throughout the entire calendar year.
The first step for students who wish to volunteer with a local nonprofit organization (on a onetime or on-going basis) is to register as an NU volunteer by visiting and creating a profile at getconnected.norwich.edu or by visiting the Center for Civic Engagement.
Leadership and service projects are local, national, and international in scope and consist of work with the elderly, youth, homeless, hungry, differently-abled, economically disadvantaged, and partnering nonprofit organizations.
Center for Civic Engagement Opportunites
Alternative Breaks +
Are You Still Deciding What to Do Over Thanksgiving or Spring Break? Alternative Break trips are designed to provide students with the opportunity to gain skills, make friends, and provide meaningful volunteer service to communities in need!
These student-led trips begin as soon as the dorms and barracks close for break and continue until they re-open the following weekend. They are a low-cost option for those who cannot travel home, or for those looking to enhance their résumé with hands-on volunteer work. These trips feature: site-seeing, recreational group activities, leadership development training and a team-based approach to addressing the needs of our host organizations.
If you are interested in participating, be sure to submit your application and attend your scheduled interview prior to deadline. These trips fill up fast and space is limited!
Alternative Thanksgiving Break (ATB):Participants assist veterans and seniors, work on Central Vermont recreational trails, and assist various local nonprofit organizations throughout the week. Thanksgiving Day is spent preparing meals for and enjoying meals with local families in need. Recreational (optional) excursions happen throughout the week and are included in the cost of the program fee.
Cost – $150*
Alternative Spring Break (ASB):Trip sites vary and typically take place outside of Vermont. Past trips have included building homes with Habitat for Humanity sites in Conn., N.Y., Mass., and S.C.; working at the Heifer Project International Overlook Farm in Rutland, Mass.; serving meals at inner-city soup kitchens in Boston, Mass. and Baltimore, Md.; and working with at-risk and special needs children in Md. and N.H. Site-seeing excursions are dependent on the service location but are always a highlight of the trip!
Cost – $200*
Buddy Up - Youth Mentoring Program +
Do you Enjoy Working with Children? Have you any experience working with elementary-aged youth either at home or in a camp setting? Make a positive impact on local children through a fun, group-based environment without ever having to leave campus!
The program pairs 25 mentees (kids from Northfield and Roxbury) with 25 Norwich University student mentors each Friday after school during the academic semesters. This student-run program meets once per week to plan and prepare fun-filled activities and again on Fridays when the children are on campus from 4 - 7 p.m.
How it Works:
Each Friday session begins with mentors helping mentees with homework or academic skill-building challenges, includes a healthy dinner for all, and ends with recreational activities.
Interested in Becoming a Mentor?
The ideal mentor is someone able and willing to dedicate a full academic year to the program—as the children get very attached to their mentors! Acceptance to become a mentor is competitive and includes an interview. Applications can be picked up in the CCE (WCC 230), or online at norwich.edu/cce. All students are eligible to apply regardless of class year, lifestyle, or academic major.
Mentors can expect to gain skills and experience many professional development opportunities throughout the program including:
- Mandatory-reporter training.
- Mental health first aid certification.
- First aid/CPR certification.
- Workshops and conferences focused on childhood development and effective mentoring techniques.
- Arts and crafts.
- Rock wall climbing.
- Low ropes course work.
- Hikes up Paine Mountain, and more!
Civic Scholars Program +
Are you Interested in Public Service?
The Civic Scholars Program recognizes and supports students who are entering Norwich University as first year or transfer students with a demonstrated commitment to public service. Fifteen incoming students are chosen each year.
Scholars engage in meaningful service for 6-8 hours per week in the Northfield and Central Vermont communities and are eligible to receive a $3,000 scholarship each year they are involved.
This program is open to all first-year eligible students, regardless of lifestyle, and provides both personal and professional leadership development training. Topics covered include: public speaking, event planning, personal financial management, interpersonal communication, time management, and more.
First Year: Serving 200 hours as Service-Learners, time is focused on scholars to immerse themselves in organizations or causes that are personally meaningful.
Second Year: Serving 150 hours as Public Service Leaders in Training, scholars will assume more responsibility as volunteer recruiters, perform direct service, and begin shadowing current student leaders.
Third Year: Serving 100 hours as Leaders in Service, scholars will assume more responsibility, lead service-oriented initiatives, programs, services, and events while leading teams and delegating when appropriate.
Fourth Year: Serving 50 hours as Peer Mentors and Service Advisors to upcoming Leaders in Service.
Minimum Eligibility Requirements:
- Incoming freshman or transfer student.
- Minimum GPA of 2.5.
- Documented track record of volunteer and/or service-learning experience.
- Letter of recommendation from a volunteer or service-learning supervisor.
- Professional résumé outlining work and volunteer experience.
- Letter of interest from the applicant.
NU Emergency Medical Services +
Interested in Becoming a First Responder?
NU EMS is a student-run organization through the Center for Civic Engagement that works in partnership with the Northfield Ambulance Service in Northfield, Vt.
Its qualified members actively help in providing medical coverage on the ambulance, with the Crash Rescue Unit, and the Off-Road Rescue Unit within Northfield, West Berlin, and Roxbury.
NU EMS provides training for Norwich University students, faculty, and staff in life-saving skills that will help members become certified in the following proficiencies:
- CPR/First Aid First Responders
- Emergency Medical Responders (EMRs)
- Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs)
NU EMS on Campus:
NU EMS student volunteers who are qualified to do so, also provide medical standby details for student clubs, ROTC detachments, and University organizations (such as the Corps of Cadets) on campus. In an effort to promote healthy choices and decision-making, NU EMS also provides campus programming such as mock DUI accidents on campus to raise awareness around the dangers of drunk driving in partnership with our local public safety officials.
In addition to gaining life skills and regionally-recognized certifications, students who participate in this program are provided with additional professional development opportunities through local and national leadership training conferences and programs. As one of the larger service-based student organizations on campus, the leadership positions available through NU EMS are competitive, and include:
- Operations Lieutenant
- Training Lieutenant
- Training Sergeant
- Administrative Sergeant
- Supply Sergeant
NU Scouting Association +
Are you Involved in Scouting?
The Norwich University Scouting Association is a fellowship of men and women who have achieved Eagle Scout, Silver Award or Gold Award rank and/or those individuals who have been involved with or in support of the Scouting movement. This group is dedicated to continued service to Norwich University and the surrounding community, as it helps to support others joining the ranks of Boy Scout, Girl Scout, Cub Scout and Venturing programs.
With NUSA’s main priority of serving others, the organization assists at local scouting events, visits with local troops when possible, and partners with other agencies to provide on and off-campus events such as Merit Badge events, Flag Etiquette trainings, Scouting Camporees and large-scale days of service. A natural ally with the Explorer Post programs, NUSA has also helped to establish a Law Enforcement Explorer Post through the Center for Civic Engagement for eligible students.
Benefits of Being Involved:
Through NUSA, participants can develop time management, project management, volunteer coordinator, leadership, and team-building skills. Working with local scouting organizations also helps to develop students’ networking skills, as well as to advance their rank within their respective organizations.
- Green Bar – those who serve as a club officer.
- Eagle/Silver/Gold Member – for those who obtained their respective highest rank within one of the many scouting organizations.
- Supporter – any member who wishes to support scouting ideals and teaching who may or may not have been directly involved in scouting.
NUSA plans to annually host a Camporee for local scouting troops that desire to improve their leadership skills, while featuring many of the opportunities Norwich has to offer. The Camporee is a weekend camping event designed to allow participants to complete advancement requirements and merit badges while experiencing and learning more about Norwich.
Special Olympics Club of NU +
Improve the Lives of Those With Disabilities!
Unify is a student-run organization sponsored by the Center for Civic Engagement at Norwich University that aims to raise awareness and support for those who are differently-abled. It is designed to unite Special Olympic athletes from Central Vermont with our students (both with or without disabilities of their own) to create life-long friendships and to promote meaningful campaigns and programming that will better the lives of those living with disabilities.
Unify develops leaders among its mentors and mentees alike by offering a variety of programs and events through which they can become involved. All programming is inclusive by nature and the success of all programming depends highly on the commitment and engagement of the organization’s participants.
Events take place both on- and off-campus, and are highly popular among the Norwich University community.
Unify Programming and Events:
- Offer leadership opportunities to interested NU students.
- Require a once-per-week commitment throughout the academic semester.
- Promote living a healthy lifestyle.
- Foster a safe environment where participants learn to become more comfortable working and interacting with people with functional differences or special needs.
Want to Join?
NU students who choose to join Unify become part of a larger, more inclusive community. All students are welcome to join this organization, and those with a particular interest in honing their leadership skills by organizing events or facilitating meetings will have the opportunity to do just that!
In partnership with the Vermont Special Olympics since 1986, Norwich University’s commitment continues to grow! In 2016, we were awarded the “Vermont Organization of the Year” for our continued dedication.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance +
Gain Valuable Skills While Helping Others!
Have you ever thought it would be helpful to know how to prepare your own income tax return? What if you could learn how to both prepare your own tax returns and help others with theirs?
Partnering for a Common Good
In partnership with Capstone Community Action and the Internal Revenue Service, the VITA program is offered through the CCE for any student, faculty, and staff member looking to become a certified tax preparer.
This particular training is ideal for those who are pursuing a degree in business and/or accounting. Certifications are valid for one year upon completion of the program, and are renewable with additional training.
What Volunteers Can Expect:
Trainings are held on campus and are facilitated by a certified professional between November and December before the University closes for winter break. Participants may choose to pursue their basic and/or advanced level of certification for free! The following are provided to volunteers at no expense:
- Orientation and training.
- Tax preparation materials and equipment.
- Certificate of completed training.
- Tracking of volunteer hours.
It’s All About Reciprocity!
In exchange for this training, VITA participants volunteer a few hours each week during tax season (February–April) to help income-eligible residents prepare their taxes at no cost to them. Tax preparation sites may be on campus or at a nearby location, so it is very convenient for volunteers.
If you are interested in this great opportunity to engage with your community, look no further than Capstone’s VITA program in partnership with the Center for Civic Engagement!
Rotaract - Rotary International Program +
What is Rotaract?
Rotaract is an international program of Rotary International for young professionals between the ages of 18 and 30 who want to make a difference. It is a nonpartisan, secular organization of which there are currently over 160,000 members worldwide, in over 7,000 clubs spread out in 151 countries.
The Rotaract Club at Norwich University is overseen and sponsored by the Center for Civic Engagement and serves in partnership with the Northfield, Vermont Rotary Club in Rotary District 7850. Our club conducts meetings every other week, and uses occasional week nights and weekends for service projects, social events, and workshops. Club members explore and pursue professional certifications and leadership development opportunities, lead some of the University’s most popular service events, and encourages fellowship by organizing fun outings throughout Central Vermont!
The Rotarian's Four-Way Test:
All Rotaract members are part of the Rotary International family and aspire to recognize, practice, and promote ethical standards around leadership and vocational responsibilities while following the Rotarian’s four-way test of the things they think, say, and do.
- Is it the truth?
- Is it fair to all concerned?
- Will it build goodwill and better friendship?
- Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
Rotary's Fiv e Avenues of Service:
- Community Service – assisting local nonprofits and residents in need.
- International Service – assisting international partners, like our NU Rotaract project in Tanzania.
- Vocational Service – developing professional skillsets to compliment academic pursuits.
- Club service – developing strong fellowship amongst the club membership. Youth service – helping younger generations of volunteers develop their leadership skills.