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The  Office of Civic Engagement facilitates long-term partnerships and civic engagement initiatives that unite campus and community in collaboration on real-world projects that address some of society’s most vexing challenges. Through experiences focused on civic learning and democratic engagement, students are emboldened to become innovative leaders and active citizens who will foster the common good and propel social change in their local communities and the broader world. 


Civic Inquiry & Community Leadership: Student Voices

The Office of Civic Engagement and Community Partnerships has a new website! We are sharing some outtakes of student leadership stories and hope you will visit our site to learn more about the work that Colby students are leading in the greater Waterville community.

Nena Burgess 22’
CE COOT Trip Leader, Office of Civic Engagement First Year Student Liaison, Colby Museum Student Board, ACLU Maine intern

How has civic engagement contributed to your learning and leadership development?

My civic engagement experiences have allowed me to develop a greater understanding of community growth, resilience, and adaptability which have been at the core of my learning and leadership development at Colby. Since my freshman year, I have faced challenges transforming my understanding of community in a setting drastically different from the one in which I grew up. Although I have met people with unique perspectives and backgrounds, many of which are contrastingly different yet parallel to my own, I recognize I am still no expert on navigating differences. I recognize that there is still so much more to learn to truly actively engage, organize, build relationships, and establish a presence within my community. As I become more involved within my community through civic service,  I am able to draw connections in places formerly unknown and use these connections to provide a space for others to also actively engage. Civic engagement has the potential to transform personal perceptions of difference and allow you to turn towards the community in difficult times.


What is something you have learned about yourself as a result of your civic engagement experiences?

Civic engagement has allowed me to think critically about my position within my community and ways to facilitate meaningful connections with those working to serve my community. I have found that I learn the most just by taking the time to have meaningful conversations.  When volunteering at Camp Tracy I was able to talk with community members during service about their concerns regarding their community, challenges they have faced inspiring active citizenship, and experiences growing up in the Waterville community. As I believe that the strength of a community lies within its ability to truly foster meaningful relationships and mutual connection with the surrounding environment, these conversations have allowed me to interrogate my ideas of community and ultimately reimagine my awareness of the importance of civic engagement.



Annie Muller 22’
Ohanian Szostak Fellow for Civic Leadership, Colby Outing Club, COOT Leader, Civic Engagement Student Advisory Committee

How have you been involved with civic engagement at Colby, and why is it important to you?

In my sophomore year, I started a civic engagement project with Jackie Florman with the aim to initiate a partnership between the Colby Outing Club and Messalonskee High School’s Outing Club. As Ohanian Szostak Fellows, we started meeting with the faculty sponsor and students of the Messalonskee Outing Club (MOC) and finding Colby students enthusiastic about engaging with local students in the outdoors. Our first planned trip was unfortunately cancelled due to the start of the covid-19 pandemic, but through the year we kept in touch by creating virtual resources for getting outside. Now, as we look ahead to the 2021-22 school year and anticipate a return to in-person civic engagement, I am starting an Outdoor Outreach Club dedicated to our original mission of helping local students get outside. Starting Fall 2021, we will be partnering with the Alfond Youth Center to help host outdoor activities and workshops during their after school program. By working with the various outdoor clubs on campus – the Colby Outing Club, the Fly Fishing Club, the Colby Mountaineering Club, and others – we will be able to support many opportunities to increase accessibility to the outdoors for local students while fostering mentor-mentee relationships. This civic engagement work is important to me because helping young students get outside today is more important than ever after the indoor virtual world of the pandemic. Working as a camp counselor for three years has also shown me the power of mentor-mentee relationships in the outdoors and the importance of exploring and learning from nature. I’m excited to bring my enthusiasm for outdoor education and outreach to empower Colby students to share their love for the outdoors with the community.

How has civic engagement contributed to your learning and leadership development?

I have learned how to be persistent when working for something important. My civic engagement project has been in the works for over a year, facing many setbacks such as those due to covid. I’ve had to learn that some things that fail are not really failures, but important stepping blocks to the next idea and plan of action. As the new Outdoor Outreach Club comes to fruition, I am glad that I did not give up on my civic engagement project. I’ve learned that things take time and that processes of trial and error are important for a civic engagement project and ensure that the best possible routes are being taken in the end. I have learned that I can adapt to new situations and look for creative solutions to new problems.


Civic Practice and Public Action

Colby student Maddie Fresco 22’, has launched an exciting new program called First Generation Investors (FGI). First Generation Investors is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that teaches underserved high school students the power of investing and provides the students with real money to invest. College volunteers teach high school students the basics of investing over the course of 8 sessions. High School students then create a final portfolio of $100, which they receive in the form of a real investment account upon graduation. 

Maddie and her peers are fortunate to work with Jobs for Maine Graduates at Waterville High School this year and are looking forward to starting their tutoring sessions in October.  Students are grateful for all the support Colby’s Civic Engagement and President Greene’s offices have extended, and look forward to creating a sustainable impact on the Waterville community.


Student resource site

This fall, the Office of Civic Engagement launched a new student resource site designed to help increase awareness of and access to civic engagement opportunities and resources for Colby students! Be sure to visit this resource site to learn more about ways to get involved, find current opportunities, learn more about our community partners, and even schedule a meeting with our team! Regardless of your academic major or professional aspirations, the Office of Civic Engagement supports experiences that cultivate your civic purpose and civic leadership. Visit our website to learn more!


Community Figure Drawing
Date: October 12 From 6-8pm

Figure drawing at Ticonic Gallery and Studio (TGS) is back! Seasoned and aspiring artists are invited to participate in this figure drawing program hosted by TGS that provides a unique opportunity for emerging and established artists to hone their drawing skills in a supportive environment. Participants bring their media of choice: charcoal, pastels, paint, clay, etc. TGS provides the chairs, model, and camaraderie. All levels of experience are welcome. Each class will begin with a quick drawing warm-up exercise guided by the instructor, followed by timed open drawing sessions. There will be an optional 15-minute critique after class. Classes are $10 per person and free for students.

We need models! This fun volunteer opportunity offers the chance to play dress up and be a model for community artists. We would meet with you ahead of time to get a costume picked out from the Waterville Opera House costume closet. Then you would come to Ticonic Studio the night of the event to strike a pose.


Please Contact: Serena Sanborn at


Understanding Dawnland Today: The Wabanaki and the State of Maine

The League of Women Voters of Maine presents a series to promote a better understanding of the past and present of the Wabanaki indigenous people. The four-part series will dive into difficult truths about the colonization of Maine and how understanding Dawnland today can help us become better allies of the Wabanaki tribes.

Please visit this link to find more information and find out how to register:

Land Acknowledgement

Wednesday, October 13 at 6:00 PM

Featuring Dr. Darren Ranco from the University of Maine Department of Anthropology


Maine Hunger Dialogue
October 22, 2021University of Maine at Farmington or via ZoomFree!


UMaine Extension, in collaboration with the Maine Campus Compact, has offered the Maine Hunger Dialogue (MHD) annually since 2014. This year we join with the University of Maine at Farmington who will host the 2021 Maine Hunger Dialogue on Friday, October 22, from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm, 2021. Students and staff are welcome to join us in person or remotely via Zoom. Together we will focus on Maine College student food insecurity, and through our learning, networking and Mini-Grant program, support student led programs and projects to fight food insecurity back on their campuses or in their communities.


Service Saturdays: October 23 & October 30

Please use the links below to sign up:

Johnson Day: October 23 9am-12pm


SENA Clean-Up: October 30 8:30am- 12pm



Seed Library


Civic Prompts and Provocations

“Revolutionary love is a well-spring of care, an awakening to the inherent dignity and beauty of others and the earth, a quieting of the ego, a way of moving through the world in relationship, asking: ‘What is your story? What is at stake? What is my part in your flourishing?’ Loving others, even our opponents, in this way has the power to sustain political, social and moral transformation. This is how love changes the world.”

-Valarie Kaur

Leran more about Valarie Kaur’s work at:

The Office of Civic Engagement and Community Partnerships is located in the Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons, 150 Main Street, Downtown Waterville.

Follow us on Instagram: @colby_civic_engagement
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Colby Civic Engagement Office · 4000 Mayflower Hl · Waterville, ME 04901-8840 · USA

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