Student Civic Leadership

In addition to the many academically-rooted civic learning and action opportunities offered at Bates, the Harward Center for Community Partnerships also facilitates co-curricular volunteer and civic leadership opportunities for Bates students, faculty, and staff. Harward Center staff and student leaders assist prospective volunteers in identifying opportunities that allow you to combine your interests and values with the needs and priorities of off-campus community partners.


Among our leadership positions are Community Liaisons. These are students who are members of student clubs or athletic teams and who are trained to organize and lead their fellow team or club members in off-campus volunteer activities. This could take the shape of a one-time activity like helping with the bi-annual City of Lewiston Litter Pickup Day, or it could be something more sustained, like volunteering for an hour each week as a Playground Pal at a local elementary school.

A team of students with extensive civic engagement experience serve as Community Outreach Fellows, helping their fellow students find desired opportunities for co-curricular volunteer work in a wide range of areas. Each Fellow serves as a campus liaison to a local non-profit organization and works 6-10 hours per week to educate the campus community about that organization and to recruit, train, and manage Bates volunteers for engagement with the agency. Community Outreach Fellows also participate in monthly reflection and skill-building workshops designed to develop their civic leadership capacities.

Bonner2The Bates Bonner Leader Program, also overseen by the Harward Center for Community Partnerships, is part of a national network of 80 campuses across the country. This four-year program features sustained civic learning and action, one-on-one and small-group mentoring relationships, collaborative and cross-cultural problem-solving experiences, ample opportunities for reflection and skill building, and financial support. Thanks to their sustained, four-year investment in community work, Bonner Leaders are typically highly regarded by community partners and are able to make significant contributions to the off-campus community. They also receive valuable guidance, expertise, and mentoring from community members.

Another cohort-based leadership program is our International Student Experiential Learning Fellowship, which allows international students a special opportunity to learn about and get involved in the off-campus community. Still another cohort program is the Bates Civic Action Team, which is for first-year students interested in serving as tutors and mentors for older elementary and middle school kids. Both these leadership programs are one-year opportunities but in other respects are similar to the Bonner Program.