Enactus isn’t alone. Accounting classes have provided auditor reviews for nonprofits and prepared tax returns for low-income individuals. Communication and sociology classes have raised funds for organizations that address unmet needs in the community.
Because CEL has the power to connect students more deeply in their learning experiences, said Keys, it’s been identified as one of the College’s High-Impact Educational Practices: “These practices are at the heart of a North Central College education.”
As part of student club responsibilities, 70-some student clubs are required to complete at least one community service project during the year. Those projects have included helping nonprofit organizations with fundraisers, preparing and serving meals for a homeless shelter, packing meals for the hungry and more.
In athletics, all 26 sports teams participated in community service projects this year, said Assistant Athletic Director Susan Kane. “We encourage athletic teams to get involved, although it’s not required. Serving others is in line with our mission as a college and the Division III philosophy.”
The women’s soccer team, for example, packed meals at Feed My Starving Children events and worked with a nonprofit that provides housing and support services.
Head soccer coach Andrew Gamarra said, “We feel service leadership opportunities teach valuable lessons that students will take with them for the rest of their lives. We’re fortunate to be able to give back, and we want our student-athletes to think on a deeper level about what that means for us and the people we’re helping.”
Other athletic teams have worked with Special Olympics events and nearby elementary schools to build a garden, teach volleyball, read to students and more.
“Our key goals are to deepen student learning and foster positive social change in our neighboring communities,” said Keys. “As a college, we want to create a community engaged learning program that earns national recognition for its excellence.”
[Photo, below: Jennifer Keys, director of CAFÉ and professor of sociology; Jerry Thalmann, associate professor of accounting, faculty advisor for Enactus; Susan DeNigris ’02 Kane, assistant athletic director]