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Community Engagement, Service, and Volunteering at Michigan Tech

What is community engagement?

Community engagement is a broad category that includes:

  • Service and volunteering in any community, at home or abroad
  • Projects and research in partnership with community members and community organizations
  • Addressing issues affecting a community in a way that is mutually beneficial to all participants

Who participates in community engagement at Michigan Tech?

Students in many majors and aspiring to diverse careers choose to engage with communities.

For example:

Can I do international community service?

Interested in international service?

  • Join Peace Corps Prep, a program that helps you gain technical and cultural skills to be successful working in cross-cultural service
  • Students in Peace Corps Prep typically integrate a study abroad and/or community project into their Pavlis experience
  • Peace Corps Prep is an official partnership between Michigan Tech and the U.S. Peace Corps. It prepares students to serve in another country in the Peace Corps or other community service opportunities.
  • You can earn a certificate from the Peace Corps, a minor at Michigan Tech, and honors recognition from Pavlis by completing Peace Corps Prep

What kinds of work have Pavlis students done?

Here are some stories of Pavlis students who focused on community engagement in their honors program.

  • Elise Cheney Makens designed a Science Fair Mentoring Program for 4th and 5th graders, and volunteered at a Ronald McDonald home during a research summer experience at Mayo Clinic. She earned two Michigan Tech awards for Community Service and is now in medical school at Michigan State.
  • Addie Saltarelli coached basketball and designed a greenhouse and gardening course at Jeffers High School. She was awarded the Exceptional Community Service Project Leadership Award from Michigan Tech for this work. Also highlighted in this video is Lydia Savatsky, who has managed low-income housing projects with the Appalachian Service Project for two summers. She also has worked extensively with K-12 students, including helping to found a new virtual tutoring group during the pandemic, TechTutors.
  • Quite a few students have used the International Senior Design Program in Panama, faculty-led study abroad, and/or European Project Semester for part of their honors experience and Peace Corps Prep.

Who should I contact to learn more?

Kari Henquinet (kbhenqui@mtu.edu) can help you find the right connections for a community-engaged immersion, project, or leadership/mentorship experience. Other Pavlis faculty and
staff also have great connections, such as Dar Slade, Mary Raber, and Vienna Leonarduzzi.


Meet the Students – Lydia Savatsky

Lydia is a fourth-year majoring in math. For three summers, she has worked with the Appalachia Service Project (ASP), a non-profit organization that provides home repairs for low-income residents in five states. This summer for her honors project, she designed surveys to gauge general homeowner satisfaction and basic needs, and to track how utility bills change after ASP completes repairs. She is compiling the data from these surveys to improve the organization’s impact and help secure grant funding. Lydia is also on the leadership team of Tech Tutors, a student and alumni-led Covid-19 response to virtually tutor K-12 students.


Register to vote!

Are you ready to vote? Are you registered? Do you have questions about voting? Visit the Michigan Tech voter registration drive on Tuesday, September 22, from noon-3 p.m. Bring a valid driver’s license/state ID and a mask, and make sure you know the last four digits of your Social Security Number.

Michigan residents who are unable to make it to the Voter Registration Day event can register to vote online until Monday, Oct. 19. They may also visit any Michigan Secretary of State office. Residents of all states can find voter information at http://www.vote411.org

Last year, Michigan Tech was awarded a bronze seal for excellence in voter engagement, but there’s still a long way to go.

“The (Washington Monthly) listing reflected a significant increase in voter registration, But MTU is still well below our peers. I’d like to increase our numbers so we are above the national average,” said Zach Olson, USG’s Political Affairs Committee chair and a recently named fellow of the Campus Election Engagement Project.

So: visit the drive if you’re not registered to vote, or have questions. And vote this November!

[Portions of this post were excerpted from Tech Today. Read the full article.]


Honors student teaches innovative, hands-on science class to teens

Read about honors student and recent graduate Addie Saltarelli (Forestry, 2020) in the Western UP Food Systems Collaborate blog. Addie designed and co-taught a greenhouse and gardening course at Jeffers High School. She was awarded the Exceptional Community Service Project Leadership Award from Michigan Tech for this work.

https://www.wupfoodsystems.com/blog/2020/4/28/planting-a-seed-for-generations-to-come-school-greenhouses-and-gardens


MTU student research partnerships growing for KBIC NRD

Read about Michigan Tech students who have partnered with Keweenaw Bay Indian Community’s Natural Resources Department on a variety of research projects:

  • Kelley Christensen, Environmental Energy and Policy grad student
  • Angela Gutierrez, Social Science major
  • Marie Richards, Industrial Heritage and Archaeology grad student
  • Deanna Seil, MS Forest Ecology and Management 2020
  • Emily Shaw, Environmental Engineering grad student