The Center for Community Engagement (CCE) is the administrative home for the College’s community engagement activities that integrate educational experiences with community service, student development, and civic participation. The CCE houses the Community Engaged Learning (CEL) Institute and Bonner Institute.
First-Year Community Engaged Learning (FYCEL) is a graduation requirement that brings the College’s values to life, and introduces students to the culture of the campus and community. All first-year students complete the FYCEL graduation requirement within their first year at TCNJ through the non-credit course FYC 100, which is facilitated by a TCNJ staff or faculty member. FYC 100 is a two-week course, consisting of two 80-minute education class sessions, one half day of service, and one 80-minute reflection class session. This model provides the students with an introduction to what community engaged learning is and some context for them going into their service experience. The final session of the course allows students to reflect on their service experience to deepen awareness of social issues and to cultivate an interest in continuing to serve communities. Some of the service needs include hunger, homelessness, education, the environment, developmental disabilities, and juvenile justice.
Some environmentally focused CEL days would consist of invasive species removal, community gardening, and park and stream clean ups. Each day begins with an introduction to the issue, why it matters, and what can be done. The day concludes with a critical reflection of what the impact was and connecting it to personal experiences as well as any relevant academic work.
You can learn more about CEL at the Center for Community Engagement’s website.