The following models guide our students, faculty, and staff in their development as community-engaged leaders and partners:

The Active Citizen Continuum: We all fall somewhere on the Active Citizen Continuum. Some students have already had years of experience volunteering in their communities when they get to Lafayette, and some have had little, or none at all. Being a leader or member of a club that volunteers in the community allows all participating students to enter the Active Citizen Continuum at the point they are already at in their personal journey toward active citizenship. The Active Citizen Continuum describes the progressive levels of civic engagement from simply being a part of the community to being fully integrated in the continued betterment of society. View the active citizen continuum [pdf].

The Triangle of Quality Community Service: Successful community engagement requires more than just direct service in the community. Without education and reflection activities to support the experience, community engagement has the potential to do harm where it intends to do good. Understanding the community with which they will work can help students separate that community from the stereotypes that may reproduce in society, and also ensures that they will not inadvertently say or do things that might be psychologically or emotionally harmful.  Reflection activities allow students the space to understand how the experience has been important both to them and the people with whom they have worked, and reinforces the belief that they can, as individuals, have a positive impact on society. The Triangle of Quality Community Service illustrates the relationship between education, direct service, and reflection, and briefly describes the negative impact the absence of any one of these components can have on the community engagement experience. View the triangle of quality community service [pdf].

The Parable of the River: At the root of every social question is a social catalyst. Quality civic engagement requires students to look past the work they are doing to uncover why that work is necessary. What other social issues, such as racism, sexism, or class stratification are connected to the question they are seeking to answer? How are all the voices that might have answers to the question heard? The Parable of the River encourages students to look past the immediate problem to discover its underlying causes. Read the parable of the river [pdf]