Applied and experiential learning, including civic engagement, is an important and required part of many Pacific undergraduate students’ studies. Under normal circumstances, experiential learning activities take place off-campus at organizational locations across the region. Due to COVID-19 public health requirements, there are new operational requirements for anyone pursuing experiential learning:
- When possible, students will undertake experiential learning that is campus-based or site-free, because limited-site and off-site experiences introduce additional risks such as mingling of populations.
- In cases where students must complete off-campus, site-based experiential learning activities, they are required to submit the “Field Experience Student Acknowledgement of Risk of COVID-19” form in advance.
- All partner sites must be approved for the duration of the pandemic via our Partner Agreements form.
There are many ways that civic engagement takes place on campus or in online environments. Students and partner organizations do not need to complete the forms above for experiential learning taking place on campus or in virtual environments. If you have questions regarding experiential learning or the site approval process, please contact the Director of Applied and Experiential Learning.
Volunteering | Center for Civic Engagement
Students at Pacific undertake many different forms of service. The McCall Center for Civic Engagement works with partners throughout our community to connect students to meaningful volunteer opportunities through which students can learn and make a contribution while benefiting a cause and the mission of a local organization.
The MCCE does not offer a placement service per se, but we do provide several resources to help students seeking to serve find the right opportunity.
We encourage all student and partners to utilize Handshake, the same online service used by employers to recruit Pacific students. Handshake allows partners to create and modify their own profile and position descriptions, while students can use key word searches and other tools to find positions. Handshake is managed by the Pacific University Academic and Career Advising Center, but both students and partners can access it on their own at pacificu.joinhandshake.com.
Get Involved Via Engagement (GIVE) projects. GIVE projects are designed and planned by or in consultation with the McCall Center Civic Action Team and often include transportation to and from the work site for students. Past projects have included build days with Habitat for Humanity, sorting donations at the Oregon Food Bank, and beach clean ups on the Oregon Coast with SOLVE.
Our approach to short-term service:
- We limit the number of participants based on the needs in the community to ensure that all participants can make an authentic contribution
- We recognize that short-term projects do not usually get to the root of a problem, but can engender a spirit of service on campus and make an immediate difference to the people and planet they serve
- We ensure that participation is voluntary so that those involved really want to be involved.
Short-term and one-time opportunities for engagement are regularly publicized on our Get Involved page, around campus, and in our semi-regular "Civic Action Update" emails. In addition, many local organizations provide easy access to short-term (ranging from a couple of hours to a full day) volunteer opportunities for individuals and groups on their websites. One of our favorites is Hands on Great Portland with their wide range of "done-in-a-day" volunteer opportunities.
Ongoing Commitments and Established Partnerships
Pacific University partners with literally hundreds of organizations in the Portland Metropolitan area, region, and indeed, around the world to provide educational service opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. While we could not possibly list all of our partners in a useful way here, a sample of our partners below provides a starting point for those seeking to volunteer. These community partners are within about 30 minutes of campus by car (the MCCE can help students work out transportation and other logistical issues) and have successfully hosted Pacific students on many occasions in the past.
Students are welcome to explore the opportunities these (or any) organizations offer on their own, and to give us feedback on their experiences. Please note that this list is by no means exhaustive, with new organizations or opportunities cropping up on a regular basis. We invite students to come to the MCCE for assistance with finding the right kind of opportunity, or to do their own research based on their interests and logistical situation.
Please note: If you work with a community organization that you think should be on this list, please contact us. Some of these organizations may also have profiles on Handshake.
This list includes organizations that:
- Are within a 30-minute drive from the Forest Grove Campus (some are walking distance)
- Have a variety of regular, ongoing volunteer positions
- Align with the university mission
- Students have had positive experiences with in the past
Adelante Mujeres | Adelante Mujeres “provides holistic education and empowerment opportunities to marginalized Latina women and families to ensure full participation and active leadership in the community.”
B Street Farm | An experiential learning site for Pacific University’s Center for a Sustainable Society, the mission of B Street Farm is “to provide inspiration and information about environmentally sensitive, sustainable living practices for Pacific University students, city residents, local schools and other Forest Grove community members. Site projects engage participants in community building, research, and demonstration for the purpose of providing the impetus for sustainable practices in the Forest Grove community in accordance with permaculture principles and ethics.”
Bienestar | Bienestar “builds housing, hope, and futures for the well-being of working families and seniors.”
Centro Cultural | Centro Cultural “promotes personal growth and empowerment for Washington County communities of color and low income families.”
Forest Grove Community Alternative Learning Center (CALC) | CALC is part of Forest Grove High School, offering credits through self-paced learning. The ultimate goal is for students to return to the high school to successfully complete graduation requirements. “CALC staff and students work together to build a community founded on equity that honors learning and the growth of the whole person. We are committed to working with students to help them become confident and capable problem solvers. We value diversity, creativity, flexibility, empathy, resilience and positive, healthy relationships. We believe these are all essential for students to develop their academic, leadership and social skills.”
Forest Grove Community School | “FGCS fosters scholarship, stewardship and citizenship through engaging, relevant and active learning to help our students become educated and caring community members. Through classroom and real-world experiences we honor individual student needs and abilities, strive to educate the whole child, and emphasize student growth.”
Forest Grove City Library* | Forest Grove local public library
Forest Grove Parks & Recreation* | Forest Grove local parks and recreation system
Forest Grove School District* | Forest Grove School District believes “a high-quality, well-rounded educational experience is rigorous, culturally relevant, engaging and healthful. It incorporates new technology and new approaches to instruction and learning. It nurtures the whole child, with opportunities for music and world languages and hands-on learning. It requires high quality, effective teachers, administrators and support staff. It builds on strong relationships and shared responsibility with students, family and community.”
Forest Grove Senior & Community Center* | “The mission of the Forest Grove Senior and Community Center is to support our community by providing access to essential services, and opportunities for social and educational enrichment.”
Friends of Trees | Friends of Trees inspires people to improve the natural world around them through a simple solution: Planting trees. Together.
Habitat for Humanity* | Habitat for Humanity “brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.”
Habitat for Humanity ReStore* | Habitate for Humanity ReStore sells used donated building materials, appliances, furniture, and other assorted items. All profits after operating expenses go to fund their current house building program, currently underway in Forest Grove, OR.
HomePlate Youth Services | “HomePlate supports the positive development of young people experiencing homelessness or housing instability through community building, education, access to services and resources, and youth empowerment.”
Inukai Family Boys & Girls Club* | “empower all young people, especially those who need us most, to discover their full potential as caring, engaged, responsible community members.”
Nana Cardoon | Nana Cardoon’s mission is “to empower all to grow food and community by sharing knowledge, experience and discoveries that draw upon farming” traditions and cultural heritage.
Oregon Food Bank* | The Oregon Food Bank works “To eliminate hunger and its root causes…because no one should be hungry.”
SOLVE | SOLVE brings “Oregonians together to improve our environment and build a legacy of stewardship.”
Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center | The Mission of the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center is to provide high quality, comprehensive, and culturally appropriate primary health care to the communities of Washington and Yamhill counties with a special emphasis on migrant and seasonal farmworkers and others with barriers to receiving health care.
Wildwood Farm Sanctuary | Wildwood Farm Sanctuary provides lifelong refuge and rehabilitation for abused and abandoned farm animals while lovingly protecting the property’s native plants, wetlands, woodlands, and wild animals.
Winter Shelter | The Winter Shelters in Forest Grove and Cornelius provide safe, welcoming shelter and social service referral support to individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
* Similar opportunities are likely in other jurisdictions—what is listed here is the closest option to the Forest Grove Campus. If you would prefer to serve in Hillsboro, Beaverton, Portland, or any other place, a quick internet search should help you get to the right portal to start the process. Please let us know if you need help.