A Round of Applause for UMass Dartmouth’s ‘Corsair Engage’ Program
One of the perks of college is the connections you make. I do not remember much about freshman orientation, but I know I had a great time meeting new people and making new friends. This academic year, UMass Dartmouth has not only introduced first-year students to other students, faculty, and staff, but to the SouthCoast community as a whole as well.
Corsair Engage is a pilot program between the Leduc Center for Civic Engagement and First-Year Orientation. According to Ryan Merrill, Acting Director of Media Relations at UMass Dartmouth, more than 1,000 first-year students civically engaged in one of 33 events spread throughout the day on Sunday, August 29. That equates to over 2,000 hours of service valued at approximately $60,000 by the Massachusetts independent sector.
The partnerships included:
- Active Minds
- Arnie’s Cupboard
- Battleship Cove
- Be the Solution to Pollution
- Big Brothers Big Sisters
- Buttonwood Park Zoo
- Gifts to give
- Habitat for Humanity
- Labor Education Center
- Masspirg Students
- New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park
- Operation Clean Sweep
- Sharing the Harvest Community Farm
- UMassD Sustainability
- Viva Fall River
Merrill states that those who participated in the pilot program have made wonderful impacts including training 107 new activists, assembling 90 literacy kits, and creating 210 wellness cards for 7th graders. In addition, 4,000 pounds of food donations were organized and shelved, 500 pounds of vegetables were harvested for those in need, 15 bags of microplastics were collected from Palmer's Island, and more than 110 pounds of trash was removed from the coast.
The student feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
One student said that the opportunity was very impactful and that they are glad they took part. Another said, "It was really great for us freshmen to come together and do something super supportive for our community." A third said, that they learned a lot and had a great time. The final student who provided final thoughts said, "It was such a cool experience and a very unique thing to do at orientation. I loved it!"