The Landis Center for Community Engagement serves as the primary liaison between
faculty, students, and community partners in the development of community-based learning and research activities. The Landis Center supports community engagement through coursework, including honors theses, EXCEL Scholar projects, and independent studies. We coordinate a team of student civic leaders who coordinate weekly, immersive, and one-time volunteer programs and opportunities in the local, regional, and global community. We facilitate the community engagement activities of student clubs, Greek organizations, and athletic teams who want to share their specialized skills and knowledge with the Easton Community. Finally, the Landis Center works with other campus offices and departments to offer campus-wide education events that bring attention to the most pressing social issues of our time.

History

1960-69: The Lafayette College Church is active in the community through the Dock St. Mission. A car and later, a van, are purchased for transporting students to community programs.

1980-89: Catholic Chaplain Fr. Thomas Hagan O.S.F.S. forms the Soup Kitchen, Prison Tutoring Program, and the Adopt-a-Grandparent program. Lafayette becomes one of the first 60 colleges to join the Project for Public and Community Service (later to become Campus Compact), and Fr. Hagan creates the Haiti program, a precursor to the Hands Together program that helps to establish the Safe Harbor Easton homeless shelter. Lafayette’s first tutoring program begins with the Boys & Girls Club of Easton.

1990-1999:

  • Lafayette receives a $6,000 grant from the Committee on Higher Education of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) and hires a part-time coordinator, for community engagement programs. The Community Outreach Center is established in the newly constructed Farinon College Center.Lafayette is awarded a $20,000 grant in the first of a 3-year commitment from the federal ACTION program to expand the activities of the Community Outreach Center. New programs include Learning in Friendship Together (LIFT), a mentoring program with fourth graders at March School, and Pillars for Single Parents, supporting single parents with childcare, tutoring, etc.
  • The first Alternative School Break trip is organized, although the team has cannot leave Easton because a blizzard prevents travel to Florida. 69 makes a $200,000 gift to the endowment of the Outreach Center as its 25th reunion gift to the College. The Alternative School Break Club takes its first trip to the Honduras.
  • Seth Brogadir, Christy Seed, and Jessica Wolfson, all Class of ’97, are selected as Pennsylvania Service Scholars. They found the Kids in the Community program at two public housing sites in Easton. The first Kids in the Community Day Camp is held in August, staffed in part by first-year students who are enrolled in a pre-orientation experience (later POSP).
  • Community engagement activities include 777 students and a total of 31,420 hours. The Outreach Center staff numbers 21
  • The Landis Community Outreach Center is named for John W. ’39 and Muriel T. S. Landis in June 1999  following $1 million commitment to the Lafayette Leadership Campaign to create a major endowment supporting community outreach.

2000-2009: The MOSAIC program for student civic leadership is established, with 32 student leaders coordinating programs at over 20 community partner sites. America Reads is established and employs nearly 50 federal work study students as trained tutors in the area schools. The Pre-Orientation Service Program is established. 

2010-2019: The Center for Community Engagement is established to provide additional support to students and faculty involved community-based learning and research activities. The Landis Community Outreach Center and the Center for Community Engagement merge to become the Landis Center for Community Engagement. 

2020: Lafayette College is awarded the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement.