Each year, the Center for Community Engagement encourages students to participate in intercultural dialogue and exchange by providing funding opportunities through the Cross Cultural Community Engagement (CCCE) grant. The CCCE grant, endowed by a Middlebury Class of 1987 alumnus, supports students in their intercultural service, advocacy, and activism work. The fund offers students the opportunity to engage in service-learning and community-building experiences aimed at cultural connectedness through internships, volunteer services, and trip projects. With the grant, students are also allowed the chance to self-design their service initiatives. Spencer Royston ‘21, who spent time working with a library in Costa Rica in 2020, shared: “My time in Nosara provided me essential context for my studies at Middlebury, as well as real-world experience in what can often be a stale research-based field. I was encouraged more than ever to pursue my goals of teaching English abroad after I graduate, in the many forms that this might take.”
The CCCE grant is open to all Middlebury College students, including first-year students, but must be completed while individuals are enrolled, meaning that graduating seniors cannot use the grant to fund projects after their graduation. For folks in the early stages of developing their projects, staff at the Center for Community Engagement are available to advise students in developing their ideas and connect to existing partnerships.
Ashley Laux ‘06, the Director for the Center for Community Engagement shared that this type of flexible funding is unique at Middlebury College in that it allows for students to connect their personal or academic passions to a community that is different from their own in creative and exciting ways. Students have used the CCCE grant to support meaningful projects focused on a variety of topics and areas of interest, including outdoor involvement for underrepresented groups, access to secondary and post-secondary education, natural disaster relief, immigration advocacy, and many many others. Bella Pucker ‘21.5, who completed their project in Hawaii remotely during summer 2021, reflected: “Through working with [the Institute for Climate and Peace], I came to better understand the need for climate policy and solutions to be crafted in a way that honors the culture, traditions, and legacies of the people impacted.”
Through the CCCE grant, students have the opportunity to grow personally and professionally in a new, exciting environment while utilizing skills and strengths that they already possess. In the last 12 years, projects have been facilitated both in-person and remotely in over 35 different countries and more than 10 US states. Projects can take place over a single week, a month, or even an entire summer and different funding levels are available to support varying project lengths. Funding can also be used to support students who would like to attend conferences focusing on intercultural or international themes. To hear more from students directly about their experiences, you can check out our previous blog posts from Naina Horning ‘19, who spent his J-Term at the African Leadership University in Mauritius, and Tenzin Dorjee who highlighted the 2020 grant recipients.
The CCCE grant is just one of the ways that the Center for Community Engagement fulfills its mission to prepare students for lives of meaning and impact though local, national, and global community connections and strengthen students’ civic identities, knowledge, and skills. To Director Laux, the CCCE grant plays a key role in helping students enter into new communities and do projects that are mutually beneficial to community members. The structure of the program also allows for students to reflect on their projects and make meaning of their work after exiting the communities with whom they collaborate. This work supports students in developing the skills and aptitudes to become ethical global citizens.
When considering potential projects, students may want to reflect on skills and aptitudes they already possess. Director Laux shared that students may want to ask themselves “how can you use existing skill sets that you have to contribute to a community? What skills and experiences can I share with others?” in order to develop meaningful, mutually beneficial community partnerships. Applications are typically reviewed on a rolling basis, with priority deadlines set throughout the year. For January 2022 term projects, the priority deadline for applications is December 1st, 2021. For more information on application requirements, funding guidelines, sample budgets, and more you can visit go/crosscultural or email Liz Cleveland in the Center for Community Engagement at firstname.lastname@example.org.