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Community Engagement Opportunities

Saturday, September 6, 2014

These trips provide an opportunity during Orientation for new students to get to know Middletown and connect with some of the organizations we work closely with throughout the year. Since each project only lasts a couple of hours, most of the activities involve visiting local sites and preparing the physical spaces at the local organization for their regular operations.  This is a wonderful opportunity to learn about community and local organizations, and about how to stay involved during your time at Wesleyan. The descriptions are linked to the organizations' respective websites, where relevant, so you can learn more about their missions.

There's still time to register! All students, incoming and returning are invited to attend. Register today, space is limited!

ARTFARM
Seeks to cultivate high quality theater with a commitment to simple living, environmental sustainability and social justice.
Help clean and organize the ARTFARM Theatre storage barn.

Best Buddies
Pairs Wesleyan students with special needs students at the Middlesex Transition Academy for different activities.
Join Best Buddies for a field day! This will be a fun opportunity to get to know friends from MTA, play games, and meet other students as well.

The Buttonwood Tree (North End Arts Rising, Inc.)
A non-profit arts center serving the emergent and underserved artists and community in Connecticut and beyond. 
Spruce up the Buttonwood's performance space--help clean, rearrange furniture, catalog books and inventory supplies.

Columbus House
Serves people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, by providing shelter and fostering their personal growth and independence.
Help the Middlesex Family Shelter freshen up their space by painting and assisting with other projects.

Covenant Village of Cromwell
A continuing care retirement community whose residents range from living independently to assisted living to requiring skilled nursing.
Help Covenant Village with two projects:

1. Technology Clinic: Assist older adults with operating their devices--setting up contacts, sending email, saving photos, streaming etc.
2. Destination Postcard Project: In September CVOC will be celebrating the International Council on Active Aging's "Let the Adventure Begin" theme. Work with residents from all levels (independent, assisted living and skilled nursing) in activities including building destination collage postcards and playing yard games like bocce, horseshoes and corn hole. One-on-one assistance would be needed for residents who are wheelchair restricted.

Cross Street Training and Academic Center
Cross Street and Wesleyan University have a long standing history of collaboration. They house an after-school program that partners with Wesleyan student volunteers to provide homework assistance and programming to school-aged children.
Help Cross Street Training and Academic Center get ready for the upcoming school year!

EON (Environmental Organizers' Network)
EON is a coaltion of students, who together with Wesleyan administration, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, and other students bring attention to environmental issues, whether it be water and air pollution, wilderness preservation, or global climate change and confront environmental issues on campus.
Participate in building pallet gardens! Pallet gardens and green walls are an excellent way to reduce energy use and brighten up buildings. EON plans to present these pallet gardens as the pilot phase of a larger plan to encourage Wesleyan to adopt green walls on campus.

Hunger and Homelessness
The Hunger and Homelessness program functions as an umbrella program for the Wesleyan student run, Middletown-specific service programs that deal with these pressing issues. H&H also works to engage students with these concerns on campus through various advocacy and awareness events.
Join the Hunger and Homelessness team for a field trip to our local soup kitchen and homeless shelter, where you will have a social hour with games and snacks. Learn more about the service programs under the H&H umbrella--Bread Salvage, Food Salvage and Habitat for Humanity.

Long Lane Organic Farm
Long Lane Farm is Wesleyan's organic vegetable (and now, egg) growing operation, on two acres of land located at the corner of Long Lane and Wadsworth Street. They host a weekly educational program and free CSA called the Community Food Project where local families bring their kids for a day of farm-related education/daycare and take home a bag of freshly harvested veggies. They also donate a portion of their weekly harvest to either Amazing Grace food pantry, or St. Vincent de Paul.
Visit Long Lane! Get acquainted with it and help out with farm tasks that need to be accomplished -- likely to include harvesting, fall planting, and weeding.

MacDonough Elementary School
Local elementary school serving about 225 students in grades K-5. Wesleyan University has several partnerships with and programs at MacDonough.  
There are two options for engaging with your local elementary school:

1. Help to organize thousands of donated books as part of MacDonough's "Book Giveaway" program.

2. Get your hands dirty in an outdoor beautification project in their playground (light garden work and some painting).

Something for everyone!

Middlesex County Historical Society
Dedicated to preserving the history of Middlesex County and providing programs for adults and children to increase their understanding of the area's past.
Get a brief history of Middletown, tour our exhibits, walk down to the South Green to see the Civil War Monument and the monument to Henry Clay Work.

Middlesex Habitat for Humanity
Seeks to build or renovate simple, decent, affordable housing in partnership with eligible families. 
Students will assist at the Middlesex Habitat for Humanity's ReStore--helping customers with their purchases, stocking shelves, unloading donations and other retail-related projects.

Middlesex Land Trust
Since 1987, the land trust has been dedicated to the preservation of land for all to enjoy. Working in Cromwell, Durham, Middlefield,  Middletown, East Hampton, Portland and Haddam Neck, they currently own and manage more than 900 acres.
Become familiar with the Land Trust and their land while participating in clearing and marking trails, clearing land of invasive plants or cleaning trash and litter.

Middletown Potluck
Middletown Potluck hosts biweekly potluck dinners at Middletown/Wesleyan venues, open to any and all willing participants, to strengthen the sense of community between Wesleyan students and Middletown residents. For this event, they are pairing with Streefire Ministries--who provide food, clothes, housing advice, counseling, job training, ministerial guidance and aid to the poor, distressed and underprivileged.
Join Middletown Potluck and help them work and garden at a house belonging to Streetfire ministries which hosts homeless people who later become interns for the organization.

M.U.G. (Middletown Urban Gardens)
M.U.G. is a student-run collective that works alongside local residents and non-profits to create safe, productive, beautiful green spaces that help foster community, educate local youth about healthy eating habits/environmental issues and provide much-needed fresh produce to the North End of Middletown.
Become familiar with M.U.G and two of the gardens they work in, the Ferry Street Garden and the MacDonough Elementary School Garden.

NEAT (North End Action Team)
Grass roots organization empowering residents to advocate for their community.
Participate in a walking tour of the North End community followed by a project in one of their community gardens.
Traverse Square After-School Program
Traverse Square After-school program is a student run, neighborhood-based program that provides tutoring for children from the Traverse Square community. Tutors provide academic support by helping children with their homework and implementing personalized study plans. Students also lead group activities, games and exercises that emphasize social justice learning. 
Come help set up the center and meet the coordinators of this student run after-school program which takes place in the Traverse Square neighborhood adjacent to campus. The coordinators want to make the center look as good as new. You will get a chance to become familiar with the space and with some of their students!
Urban Forestry Commission
Middletown's Urban Forestry Commission is a planning agency with some regulatory responsibility over city trees.
Join the Urban Forestry Commission and help them tend to the young saplings that were planted on their tree farm.

WesAGE (Wesleyan Alliance for Generational Exchange)
WesAGE is a student run group that facilitates opportunities for interaction between Wesleyan students and elderly Middletown residents, through a network of outreach programs. They strive for symbiotic, mutually beneficial relationships.
Come engage socially with the elderly residents of One MacDonough Assisted Living! Play board games, dominoes, bingo, or chat with some of the amazingly friendly and active senior citizens. This project is a little taste of the events WesAGE holds weekly during the semester. Bring your friends and a smile!

WesCFPA
The Wesleyan University branch of the Connecticut Forest & Park Association maintains hiking trails across the state, promotes environmental conservation, and instills in children appreciation for nature through lasting community partnerships.
Join WesCFPA on a brief trail maintenance outing at the Highlawn Forest Trail, which is about a 5 minute drive from Wesleyan. Students will learn about the organization's mission, how to safely use trail maintenance equipment, and will get a tour of the trail.

WILD Wes (Working for Intelligent Landscape Design at Wesleyan)
WILD Wes was created in the Fall of 2010. The vision of the group was to re-define the way our campus could look, to move beyond the notion of lawns as the ideal landscape towards sustainable landscaping. 
Come learn more about the WILD Wes group mission, tour the spaces, and work and play with them for a bit to see what (and who!) WILD Wes is!

YMCA Camp Ingersoll
Camp Ingersoll strives to provide campers with the opportunity to make friends, learn skills and interact with nature all under the guidance of their caring professional role models.
Assist with general camp clean up--put away program supplies, staining, and painting.


By submitting this form, I certify that I have been informed of and understand the nature of the field trips and community service projects.  Tasks involved in the service projects include but are not limited to painting, light construction work, gardening, cleaning, landscaping, conservation work in nearby parks, rivers and preserves, and interacting with local Middletown residents. I understand that the activities related to the field trip and the community service projects may be physical in nature and as such present certain risks to persons and property, including risk of injury.  In recognition of these risks, I agree to exercise due care in connection with my participation.

Participants under the age of 18 at the time of orientation should download the parent consent form and mail or fax to the orientation office.

Please let us know if you require accomodation due to a disability, the majority of our projects are able to accomodate students with disabilities.