NURTURING A STUDENT CIVIC NETWORK TO THRIVE
Engage NJ will establish a statewide network of students capable of success in life and work through a series of innovative programs, events, partnerships and sustained funding.
Among the coalition of Engage NJ campuses and partners, we have to act transformatively - what we collectively advance must be ecosystems for equality AND engines of economic opportunity, transforming opportunities for this generation as well as those downstream.
We will continue to grow the various events and initiatives that collectively build students’ networks and opportunities for success.
THRIVER: Valeria Izeppi, Raritan Valley Community College
THRIVE STUDENT CONFERENCE AND FAIR
Since 2020, we have hosted an annual student conference and opportunity fair called THRIVE. In the build-up and during this day-long event, students actively build their networks and relationships with fellow change builders of tomorrow. The event connects students with other college students who are interested in taking their education out into the community and developing the skills to make communities better at fighting inequality and injustice of all forms – from food insecurity to covid impacts, to racial justice, to climate change, to opportunities for a meaningful career pathway.
The Opportunity Fair builds skills literacy and exposes students to professionals from various sectors. Students work on translating volunteerism/service/community engagement into the appropriate language and format so as to put students' best foot forward in interviews, networking, and other professional settings.
In early 2022, were awarded one of the largest AmeriCorps VISTA grants in New Jersey’s history. Over the next five years, ENGAGECorps will focus on developing college students’ 21st-century skills for life and work, increasing high school completion and college access, increasing college students’ overall health and educating developing minds about the human impacts of climate change in our most marginalized communities.
Through ENGAGECorps, twenty-two (22) AmeriCorps Members will serve full-time for at least one year at higher education institutions beginning this Fall, collectively providing nearly 40,000 hours of capacity-building work in these areas. ENGAGECorps members will focus on several student success strategies. Engage NJ member campuses are eligible to apply for between one and four ENGAGECorps Members.
Each April, we award selected New Jersey students with the Changebuilder Scholars Award. These scholars are selected through a competitive statewide application process as part of Engage NJ’s AmeriCorps Changebuilders program. One awardee from each institution receives $1,000 to be used in any way that the awardees believe supports their continued success as students and engaged members of their communities. Supervisors and Coordinators can nominate up to three candidates from their own program.
Continuing in Fall of 2022, ENGAGE NJ and our partners are striving to dramatically increase opportunities for college-going students of all backgrounds to demonstrate excellence while engaging with issue-driven projects in communities, thereby enabling them to make a measurable difference in their local communities as Changebuilders. This will see a surge in the number of young socially responsible graduates with the skills required to be successful – both in achieving their own work-life goals and in their efforts to be a part of the change for the better. The Changebuilders mission is designed to achieve the following outcomes at a minimum as follows.