University of Vermont

Dewey House for Community Engagement

Serve: What Deweys Do

How do Deweys Make a Difference?

At the Dewey House for Community Engagement, we believe in transformative civic engagement-doing work that provides deep learning experiences for students and meets real needs in the community.

"Education is a social process; education is growth; education is not preparation for life but is life itself." -John Dewey (Educator, philosopher, and Vermonter)

Dewey House programs and staff support students in finding and reflecting on service-learning experiences which deepen students' skills for leadership and effective community work; understanding of our world and complex social problems; knowledge of how their own strengths and interests can contribute to making positive social change.

Meaningful community work looks different for each student. For some, it's providing resources to a non-profit through volunteering at a one-time fund raising event. For others, it's more direct, like building a 1:1 relationship with a child learning English. And for others, it's leading a campus group that advocates for policy changes to reduce poverty.

Check out our Dewey Community Directory for community partnership opporunities!


Student Quotes

"I learned the importance of communication and reliability in building strong community relationships. With the Localvore dinner, it became really obvious to me that there are endless possibilities when you collaborate with others." - Hillary Laggis

"Having never been a mentor but having one when I was younger really appealed to me. Building a relationship with a younger buddy has been great. I can tell its making a huge impact on his life as well as mine". - John Black

Bridge Building
Here are just a few recent examples of Dewey students' community engagement:
  • Hillary built relationships at the Spectrum Youth and Family Services downtown Teen Center by cooking dinner there weekly, and then led her Dewey seminar peers in partnering with Spectrum to develop a "localvore" dinner event.
  • Jeanelle developed an art exhibit of made by survivors of sexual violence with the HOPE Works organization for display at the campus Dismantling Rape Culture Conference, led a weekend retreat for girls’ leadership development with the Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains, and responds as a trained volunteer for the Rape Crisis Hotline regularly.
  • Paul led an Alternative Spring Break two years in a row, to work in Texas with an HIV/AIDS clinic and to Florida for week of partnering with a farm that works with veterans.
  • John became a mentor for elementary school-aged boys downtown and the King Street Youth Center and helped other Deweys get involved there too.
  • Alyssa is the co-founding president of UVM's Oxfam club that coordinates a range of anti-hunger education and advocacy, to which many Deweys belong.
  • Liz worked with Fed Up, a feminist advocacy organization, to help make the Occupy Burlington movement more inclusive.
  • Sam worked with the Johnnie Brook Trail organization to bring students out to Richmond, VT to rebuild a trail bridge that Hurricane Irene had swept away with members of the wider community.
Here is a selection of more current and past community organizations with whom students have partnered:
  • Food Shelf
  • Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program
  • Women's Rape Crisis Center
  • Common Ground Student Run Educational Farm
  • King Street Youth Center
  • Red Cross
  • Vermont Respite House
  • Trails End Farm Hippotherapy Program
  • Student Legal Services
  • Peace and Justice Center
  • Committee on Temporary Shelter: Daystation, Weatherization Program, and Family Shelter Bedtime Story Reading Program
  • Spectrum Homeless Shelter
  • Women's Center Peer Advocacy Program
  • Edmonds Middle School ESL Program
  • Girl Scouts of Vermont "Girl's Eye View" Program
  • Horizontal Learning Collaborative
  • Alternative Spring Break
  • Big Buddy Program
  • 4 H
  • Community Justice Center Graffiti Removal Program
  • Mercy Connections Video Voices Project Meal Preparation
  • Ronald McDonald House Meal Preparation
  • Relay for Life
  • Catamount Trail Clearing
  • Futbol Para La Vida
  • Student Senate

Partnership with Rancing Revolution

Rancing Revolution is a non-profit organization dedicated to the facilitation of Bullying Prevention Programming in both youth and adult contexts. Click here to find out more.

Annual Community Contributions

Dewey House students commit to being civically engaged in their community for about 30 hours a semester, or 2 hours/week, a minimum of 60 hours per year. Most students contribute between 70 and 100 hours. And some complete significantly more than that!

Mittens Project

The Dewey House student enrollment has grown every year since we opened our doors in the Fall of 2008. The following numbers show the total hours of community engagement contributed by Dewey students each academic year. We anticipate that these will more than triple by the end of 2013.

  • 2013-2014: 4,400 hours
  • 2012-2013: 3, 800 hours
  • 2011-2012: 2,700 hours
  • 2010-2011: 2,500 hours
  • 2009-2010: 1,250 hours
  • 2008-2009: 700 hours

Last modified August 18 2014 02:48 PM