September 1, 2011
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Service opportunities in high demand at Metro State
A commitment to service projects is growing increasingly popular at Metropolitan State College of Denver as evidenced by the number of individuals wanting to make an impact on the Denver community through the Compact Service Corps.
The Compact Service Corps (formerly known as UCAN Serve) is an AmeriCorps program housed in Metro State’s Center for Urban Connections (CUC). Compact Service Corps offers students scholarships of up to nearly $5,000 for unpaid service through internships, student teaching, clinical placements and volunteering.
In the 2010-11 grant year, the program filled 110 spots valued at nearly $190,000. Because the program had 121 students and staff on a wait list, they received an additional $215,000 in “rollover” dollars from unfilled positions at other universities, according to CUC Program Coordinator Ryan Campbell.
“We were fortunate to be able to double our enrollment in the program from our original request,” said Campbell.
Participants, who can be students, faculty or staff, can commit to work 300 to 1,700 hours on a service project, making them eligible for $1,100 to $5,000 that they must use on educational expenses, such as tuition, loans and books.
With the additional enrollment in the program comes even more funding through the Colorado Campus Compact (CCC), which oversees the program in the region.
“The additional spots, and the additional support funding from CCC, meant that we were able to give an additional $10,000 in scholarships to Metro State students last year, beyond the stipend that participants receive from the program,” Campbell said.
Interim CUC Director Yolanda Ortega credits much of the program’s success to Campbell. "He is a transformational leader,” she says. “He truly believes in what he's doing. It's all about them [the students]. He brings them along and nurtures them.”
Campbell, who is also an affiliate health professions professor, leads recruitment efforts for the program, with obvious success. Representatives from CUC are in the “classroom about five or six times a week,” he says, focusing recruitment efforts on students in key academic programs, such as teacher education, nursing and human services. The efforts have led to a current wait list of about 200 people for the 2011-12 Compact Service Corps program.
To learn more about the Compact Service Corps, visit CUC.