Dear Community Partner,
The American Democracy Project (ADP) at William Paterson University is leading an initiative to facilitate the placement of our students in volunteer and service-learning capacities in surrounding non-profit organizations, agencies and public schools.
We are writing today with two important messages: We are announcing our new “civic engagement” database and providing information required for login, and we are extending to you an invitation to attend our July 11, 2011 Community Partners Forum, “New Tools and New Opportunities for Civic Collaboration,” at which time the database will be demonstrated.
We are very excited to announce the adoption of a new general education program at William Paterson University. The new program, titled University Core Curriculum, includes a three-credit requirement of all students in the area of community and civic engagement. The first few courses in this area will be introduced in spring 2012, and the number of these courses will increase over the next several years. All William Paterson University students, starting with the fall 2011 incoming class, will be required to complete one course in this area before graduating. This is a unique moment in William Paterson University’s history. William Paterson is the only university in the state to have such a requirement.
This unprecedented curricular requirement means that many more of our students will be seeking opportunities in organizations like your own as part of course requirements. We anticipate that the requirement will also raise students’ awareness of their communities more generally, thus increasing their volunteerism outside the context of the classroom.
To facilitate this new initiative, ADP, with the assistance of the University’s Office of the Provost, has teamed up with a career service database company, Experience.com in an effort to adapt its traditional job search product to the needs of non-profits and students seeking to find one another for volunteer and engagement opportunities. Our adapted version permits both community partners and our students to create profiles and seek matches based on customized entries and searches. The name of our database is located at engagewpunj.experience.com and can also be found on the ADP site (wpunj.edu/adp) by clicking on “Civic Engagement App.”
We are writing today because we have already created a preliminary profile for your organization. In the next few days, you will receive a email message generated by the system that will contain your temporary login and password information. The email should read as sent by “Experience.com;” please open and act promptly. Utilizing the login provided, please edit and update your profile, and provide any new contact information including your group’s website. It is our hope that you will not be deterred by any remaining branding elements and site advertisers geared toward traditional job seekers and employers. After some proven success in this area, we hope to work with Experience.com in developing a unique and much-needed interface strictly aimed at non-profit and university collaborations.
In addition, we are extending a special invitation to your organization to join us on campus for a hands-on workshop and discussion about the meaning of the database for our students, the surrounding community, and your organization in particular. The event, New Tools and New Opportunities for Civic Collaboration, will be held on Monday, July 11, 2011 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in University Commons Ballroom C. A light lunch will be served. Space is limited to 30. Reservations are on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations are being accepted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put RSVP July 11 in the subject line. Regrets are not necessary.
By participating in the new engagement database, your organization will have the opportunity to increase its exposure to our University’s more than 11,000 students, an estimated 2,500 of whom live on campus. Of note, the overwhelming majority of our non-residential students live within one hour of campus. Our diverse student body is enrolled in more than 250 undergraduate and graduate academic programs. In other words, our talented students come from all walks of life and will be looking for valuable volunteer and community service opportunities. It is our sincere belief that any one of our students might not just be your next volunteer or intern, but, he or she could very well be your next best leader.
Please contact us if you have any questions. To find out more about the American Democracy Project, please visit wpunj.edu/adp.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Prof. Christine Kelly, Ph.D., Director
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