Poverty is a complex issue requiring complex solutions, and not all of the ways the Campus Compact AmeriCorps programming leverages higher education resources to support communities in need fall neatly into a single category. One of our VISTA projects at UMass Lowell, for instance, serves low-income students in the River Hawk Scholars Program by expanding access and services to include a summer bridge program, a living-learning community, and Pathways to Employment services. This meets a range of low-income student needs while still honing in on the workforce development aspect that can offer a pathway out of poverty.
Another area where multi-layered projects exist is within the AmeriCorps focus area of Veterans and Military Families, where AmeriCorps resources are directed to support this population in areas of healthy futures, education, and economic opportunity. Cassie Bradley, Campus Compact AmeriCorps VISTA serving at National Louis University in Chicago, is working to improve higher education opportunities and access for veterans, service members, and their families. During Veterans Appreciation Week at NLU, Cassie created the NLU Discover Your Podcast to increase Veteran awareness on campus. According to Cassie’s supervisor, she is “strongly active” on campus and she continues to increase access to higher education opportunities for veterans and their families.
As Campus Compact expands their AmeriCorps programming nationwide, we’re looking to support programs and projects that offer these intentional, layered, and meaningful opportunities to further anti-poverty work and support creative and innovative ways that campuses can leverage their resources to serve individuals and communities experiencing poverty. Next year we will expand focus areas to include projects that support environmental stewardship, connect people to federal benefits, further racial equity, and serve communities with less access to AmeriCorps resources, including rural areas and areas of deep poverty. To find out more about how your campus or organization can get involved, you check out our open VISTA Host Site RFP, check back in May for information about partnering with K2H, or reach out to our national service staff.
On a final note, today is the Day of the A, where members, staff, and alumni are encouraged to wear their service gear. Above, see the Campus Compact VISTA team celebrating!