The Piper Center supports students in identifying, pursuing, and learning from a wide variety of service, internship, civic engagement and leadership opportunities that enable students to explore their interests, gain out of the classroom experience and positively impact the world around them. Through these experiences students develop the skills, knowledge and experience necessary to become active and effective citizens and leaders.
There are numerous opportunities for students to volunteer with local nonprofit organizations and schools. Volunteers can tutor, perform research, and participate in direct service. Identify volunteer opportunities using the Local Internship & Civic Engagement Opportunities Web Resource or through the Volunteer Network.
Community-Based Work Study/Northfield Reads & Counts
Qualifying students may earn their work-study awards off-campus performing jobs for nonprofits or tutoring in the schools. Students must have a Federal work study award to be eligible. Contact Julie Bubser at firstname.lastname@example.org in Office of Student Activities for more information.
Academic Civic Engagement (ACE) Courses
ACE Courses enable students to extend learning beyond the classroom and apply academic knowledge and skills to address community issues as an integrated component of a course. This initiative is a collaboration between the Piper Center, faculty, and community partners. Students can learn about ACE course offerings by clicking on the link above.
Opportunities by Interest Area
Utilize these issue-based resources to identify opportunities for engagement on campus, in the local community, and beyond. Issues highlighted include Education & Youth Development, Environmental Sustainability, Poverty Alleviation, Public Health and more.
Social Entrepreneurship Scholars Program (previously Leaders for Social Change)
The Social Entrepreneurship Scholars Program provides an opportunity for students to explore social impact careers, gain professional experience and develop as leaders. Students complete a full-time internship with a Twin Cities non-profit, for-profit or public organization while participating in regular academic and vocational reflection with fellow students, faculty, community leaders and alumni. A unique aspect of the program is the opportunity for participates to live together in a community house in a spirit of support and mutuality. Students learn from each other and work together to make decisions about groceries, meals and social activities. They also participate in a weekly community meal and community conversation.
Funding and Grants
The following funds are available for students to identify civic engagement experiences and projects:
- Internship Funding - funding for unpaid or underpaid internships over interim or summer
- Davis Project for Peace Grant – $10,000 to implement a project for peace anywhere in the world
- Phillips Scholars Program (sophomores only) — $16,000 scholarship to develop a large-scale community service project
- Peace Scholars Seminar in Norway
Events & Workshops
The Piper Center sponsors a number of events that enable students to pursue service civic engagement opportunities and connect these experiences to their academic study and career interests. Examples of civic engagement events include:
- Northfield Connect – September 12, 2013, learn from and network with local organizations & businesses
- Break Out of the Bubble – March 2014, discuss community issues and opportunities with other engaged Oles
- Worldwide Service Fair – November 21, 2013, connect with organizations offering summer and post-graduate service opportunities
Piper Center staff and peer advisors are eager to help students integrate service, leadership, and civic engagement into their St. Olaf education. Students are welcome to stop by the Piper Center to meet with a peer advisor or to schedule an appointment with Nate Jacobi, Associate Director, Service and Leadership, or another Piper Center coach.