Center for Democracy & Humanity

March 23, 2015


The Center for Democracy and Humanity at Mount Wachusett Community College in North Central Massachusetts envisions a world where the values of democracy are embodied in the daily lives of individuals and communities.

In the fall of 2002, MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino announced the “Decade of Civic Engagement,” a college-wide effort to foster increased civic responsibility among its students, faculty, staff and greater community.

The Center for Democracy and Humanity was recently established to oversee the many programs and services offered by the college as part of the Decade of Civic Engagement. The Center coordinates programs and activities to ensure optimum efficiency and collaboration. In addition to the college’s many outreach programs, college faculty are committed to infusing service learning into their curricula and academic endeavors.

To promote civic engagement within the college and its broader community, the Center for Democracy and Humanity employs four strategies:

  • Student engagement
  • Resident engagement
  • Capacity building and
  • Systemic change.

In the Classroom

With civic engagement and service learning in the classroom, students gain practical experience that sets them apart in a competitive job market, communities benefit and classroom learning is reinforced. Students also become more knowledgeable, self-confident, active and engaged citizens with effective critical thinking skills. this effort is guided by a team of faculty advisors.

The Center’s Academic Programs

Citizenship Academy – The Citizenship Academy introduces high school students to higher education, civic engagement and community service. While earning college credit, students learn the basics of thinking and writing with clarity as well as how to become engaged in their communities. The academy offers Composition, Economics, Political Science and Sociology courses–all with a civic engagement/service learning component. The academy’s unique curriculum allows students to focus on issues pertinent to their lives and communities.

Service Learning – Service Learning programs involve students in organized community service that addresses local needs, while developing their academic skills, sense of civic responsibility and commitment to the community. by developing reciprocal partnerships, the program strives to serve the community and enrich the students’ educational and civic engagement experiences. Over 1,200 MWCC students have participated in Service Learning experiences, performing more than 7,000 hours of service to the community. In the coming year, faculty mini-grants will be awarded for new and innovative integration of service learning within the curricula.

AmeriCorps Scholars – Through the AmeriCorps, a number of students are chosen each year for the Scholarships for Service program that engages students as part-time AmeriCorps members. The program is designed to both acknowledge and advance campus civic engagement efforts, placing students at the core. Students are required to complete 300 hours of service with a local non-profit organization during the school year as an intensive means of meeting critical needs in education, public safety, health and the environment.

In the Community

Center for Democracy and Humanity Community Development and Outreach Programs:

Community Builders and Project Volunteer – Community Builders is a partnership between the United Way of North Central Massachusetts and MWCC to educate, inform and inspire a greater community involvement through new and innovative strategies. Community Builders’ activities increase community action through volunteer promotion and recognition, and by providing tools, awareness and training to community organizations that depend on volunteers for their success.

Institute for Nonprofit Development – To build a more vibrant North Central Massachusetts, the Institute for Nonprofit Development supports organizations to strengthen their capacity to fulfill their missions and impact their communities. A membership-driven organization, the Institute provides training, technical assistance, resource libraries and coalition building services to nonprofits serving the region.

Molly Bish Institute for child Health and Safety – The mission of the Molly Bish Institute for Child Health and Safety is to ensure the health and safety of all children in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. To meet this mission, the Institute provides hands-on, practical learning opportunities for parents, caregivers and children, and provides a clearinghouse of child health and safety information.

Twin Cities Latino Coalition – The Twin Cities Latino Coalition is a cross-sector collaborative effort involving local educational institutions, private business, public institutions and non-profits to achieve: increased Latino parental involvement, increased Latino K-16 student educational success and sustainable educatinoal systemic change through the implementation of a strategic plan. The Coalition actively works with Latino young people, parents and multicultural leaders to support parents and children’s independence, academic achievement and active civic engagement.

United Way Youth Venture – Youth Venture aims to change society’s views of youth by catalyzing a mass movement of young people who have the vision and drive to make a difference. Youth Venture emplowers young people ages 12-20 by providing them all the tools necessary to create “ventures” – civic-minded organizations, clubs or businesses to change schools and communities. Unique to North Central Massachusetts is Youth Venture’s partnership with ten schools, which work with educators, administrators and students to integrate Youth Venture into their curricula and achieve a graeter impact across the community.

What’s Next Speaker Series – Born out of a plan to bring several notable experts in the field of social change under a single theme, hundreds of residents have attended the What’s Next Speaker Series – public forums that introduce students, residents, community leaders and decision-makers in North Central Massachusetts to innovative thinkers and doers from around the country and world. The goal of the series is to show change is possible, spark creative problem-solving and inspire action.


Lea Ann Erickson
Assistant Vice President of Public Affairs
(978) 630-9322

Amy Casavina Hall
Director of Civic Engagement and Outreach
(978) 630-9201

Fagan Forhan
Coordinator, Center for Democracy and Humanity
(978) 630-9595

Joanne Foster
Coordinator, Institute for Nonprofit Development
(978) 840-3221 x200

Andrea Hart
Program Assistant
978) 840-3221 x197

Karin Olivera
Coordinator, Community Builders and Project Volunteer
(978) 840-3221 x201

Sayra Pinto
Executive Director, Twin Cities Latino Coalition
(978) 840-3221

Rebecca Cyganiewicz
United Way Youth Venture AmeriCorps*VISTA
(978) 840-3221 x203

The Center for Democracy and Humanity’s offices are located at

110 Erdman Way
Leominster, MA 01453
Tel. (978) 840-3221 x197
Fax (978) 840-4398

Mount Wachusett Community College - MA, Massachusetts
  • update-img-new

    Get updates on what's new in the Campus Compact Network