Civic Agency Fellowship

Starting in the 2023-2024 academic year, the Civic Agency Fellowship is a new cross-sector program of civic and electoral engagement that provides students with an overview of pathways for social change, and opportunities for students to apply their learnings to student-led civic agency projects during the school year.  Facilitated by the Harward Center for Community Partnerships, the Fellows consist of student leaders who are selected by participating campus partners/offices.  Civic Agency Fellows spend their time on projects to support students’ full participation in the decisions, systems, and processes that impact their lives and communities.

2023 – 2024 Campus Partners include:

Center for Purposeful Work
Harward Center for Community Partnerships
Multifaith Chaplaincy
Office of Intercultural Education
Office of Sustainability
Residence Life
Student Academic Support Services

Learning Outcomes for Students: 

  • Civic Identity:  Explore strengths, values, and passions to form their civic identity and agency in working towards social change.
  • Awareness of Community Context:  Develop a deeper understanding of how issues inform the experience of Bates students and the Lewiston community.
  • Analysis:  Develop a big-picture, structural understanding of the power dynamics that organize a society, as well as the relational analysis of how structures can shift and change.  Understand and differentiate between advocacy, mobilizing, and organizing strategies for social change.
  • Skill Development:  Learn tactics and strategies to effectively engage in advocacy, mobilizing, or organizing on campus. 
  • Build Social Capital & Coalitions:  Engage with peers from a diverse cross-section of campus programs to identify opportunities to educate student collective action.
  • Democratic Engagement:  Support nonpartisan student voting and participation in processes for electoral or legislative change.

Program Description:

The first semester of the Fellowship provides a foundation for students to explore their own civic identity and to learn about the history of social change organizing at Bates and in the Lewiston community.  Fellows will learn skills related to base-building, outreach, one-on-one conversations, and leadership identification in order to conduct nonpartisan voter registration and mobilize the student vote in the November 2023 elections. Students will also learn to identify the problems or issues that communities face, in order to develop/support organizing or advocacy campaigns for the Winter ‘24 semester.

The second semester of the Fellowship focuses on theories of power, strategies, and pathways in social change.  Building upon the work from the first semester in issue development and outreach from elections mobilization, students will work in small teams to develop and implement an organizing project or support an advocacy campaign.  

Civic Agency Fellows will receive a stipend each semester for full participation in the program.  In addition, Fellows will have opportunities to attend state or regional convenings, such as the Maine Students Vote Summit in October 2023, NESCAC Votes Convening in February 2024, or other gatherings to support student learning and development in the civic agency space.  

For more information, please contact Jenna Dela Cruz Vendil at the Harward Center.

Jenna Dela Cruz Vendil
Associate Director of Democratic Engagement + Student Activism