Transylvania University’s location in the heart of Lexington presents our students with many opportunities to engage meaningfully within our community. Our emphasis on mutually-beneficial partnerships with local non-profit organizations allows our students ample learning and growth experiences that also positively impact our local neighborhood.
Our students are engaging with the community through student volunteer teams, community work-study placements, internships, research and special projects. Our efforts are focused on ensuring experiential and service learning that enhances students’ classroom experience through three tenants—learn, engage and reflect. Our community partners serve as co-educators and subject area experts, allowing our students insight into social justice in Lexington.
The Office of Campus and Community Engagement helps connect students, faculty and staff with opportunities to explore and live out our civic responsibility. We encourage all members of the Transy community to question social inequities of the world around them and find meaningful ways to engage within the community to help effect positive change.
We expect members of the campus community to learn about the assets of our neighborhood, so we avoid operating from a deficit model, but rather a model of empowerment and collaboration. We believe that any definition of the liberal arts includes an element of social responsibility both personally and institutionally.
Ongoing Engagement Opportunities
- Student Volunteer Teams – Students can join a Student Volunteer Team that helps to support the weekly needs at partner sites that are focused in the following areas—youth and educational development, affordable housing, domestic violence and family support and food justice. Those teams work with The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning; Habitat for Humanity and the Habitat ReStore; The Nest Center for Women, Children, and Families; Seedleaf; Harrison Elementary; God's Pantry Food Bank; Glean KY and the London Ferrill Community Garden. This program is meant to serve as the model of service learning by engaging students in a cause they are truly interested in Students will volunteer two hours weekly, attend a monthly meeting with their team and have ongoing support from their student coordinator and the Office of Campus and Community Engagement.
- Adopt-A-Cause – Student groups and organizations have the option of partnering with a local non-profit partner for a year-long commitment to help support them through volunteer and philanthropy efforts. Student groups will work closely with the coordinators at the site to establish a meaningful and productive relationship. God’s Pantry Food Bank, Arbor Youth Services and Kentucky Refugee Ministries are a few of the established partnerships.
- Saturday-in-Service – One weekend of every month, the Office hosts a Saturday-In-Service project in the community. Groups and individuals can sign up to join a 2-4 hour volunteer opportunity within the community or with a community partner on campus. A few of our sites include African Cemetery No.2, Habitat for Humanity, Catholic Action Center GodsNet, God's Pantry Foodbank and the London Ferrill Community Garden. Events with community partners include Be Bold, an empowerment workshop for young girls, and Crimson Christmas, which brings children from the Boys and Girls Club to campus to celebrate Christmas.
- Alternative Break Experiences – The Office offers week-long experiences in a community that focus on a specific social justice area. Students lead two trips during the winter break and one trip during spring break. Our ongoing trips focus on disaster relief and community building in New Orleans in partnership with Lowernine.org and Project Homecoming and faith, food and sustainable growing in Montrose, West Virginia.
- London Ferrill Community Garden – In partnership with Seedleaf, the Office helps to manage this community garden space. The garden is utilized for educational outreach, Transylvania and Fayette County Schools academic classes and community building. Students are invited to come by during the garden open hours, or join the Food Justice Student Volunteer Team.
- Community Clearinghouse – For those community partners in need of volunteers, the Office welcomes opportunities for students to engage. The Office regularly posts volunteer opportunities to students through our weekly newsletter, TNotes and on Inside Transy in the internal bulletin board. Individual students or student groups can join these community efforts at any time.
The office also partners to host several blood drives, Crimson Christmas (in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bluegrass), Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, Constitution Day and several other annual community-wide events.
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