Student playing cards with an elderly woman

Saint Anselm College is one of 40 colleges to receive the 2024 Carnegie Elective Classification for Community Engagement, an elective designation that indicates institutional commitment to community engagement.

“We are very pleased to have achieved this Carnegie designation, which affirms our deep commitment to community engagement,” said College President Joseph A. Favazza, Ph.D. “Service and volunteerism are at the core of our Benedictine heritage through the values of hospitality, community, love, and stewardship.”

The College has a long history of community engagement, starting with its founding purpose of providing education to the children of immigrants working in the mills, and community engagement can be found in many areas of the institution. Some examples include:

  • Access Academy: The Meelia Center for Community Engagement’s Access Academy provides a college access program to Manchester high school students from underrepresented backgrounds while providing Saint Anselm College students leadership and learning opportunities within the program.
  • Anselmian BREAK: Through this program, run by Campus Ministry, students engage with communities around the United States during college breaks through community partnerships. They learn about justice issues and community needs, providing physical service, monetary donations, and advocacy. 
  • Manchester Asset Mapping: As a part of their Intro to Peace & Justice Studies course and in partnership with the Meelia Center, students worked with the Manchester Health Department to create asset maps for all of the city wards. 
  • Moore Center community classes provide community-based enrichment and learning opportunities for Moore Center participants with intellectual and cognitive disabilities while providing educational opportunities for Saint Anselm College students through their partnership with the Meelia Center.
  • The Housing We Need Initiative: The Center for Ethics in Society works with NH Housing to provide education, foster dialogue, and do research about the housing crisis in New Hampshire. This is all aimed at finding solutions for the barriers to adequate housing options for people in all walks of life in the state.

There are two main offices that focus on community engagement, Campus Ministry and the Meelia Center for Community Engagement, but these values are integral to the full college. Athletics and Student Government both have community engagement as part of their programs. Also, the college has five service societies that report to the Dean of Students Office, with service embedded in their mission statements. Together, these five service societies organize the annual Relay for Life.

Student showing younger children how to play the ukelele

“This Carnegie designation acknowledges and celebrates the colleges’ deep commitment to community engagement and our longstanding reciprocal partnerships with community organizations and neighbors. We are grateful for our community partners who work collaboratively with our students, faculty, and staff in an effort to bring about positive community change,” said Nicole Lora ’06, director of the Meelia Center. “Our students have the opportunity to develop strong civic and leadership skills through this work and ongoing engagement with the community.”

Students at a service site

The college is one of 368 institutions that have been recognized by the Carnegie Elective Classification for Community Engagement. It is awarded following a process of self-study by the institution, which is then assessed by a national review committee. The committee looked at alignment among campus mission, culture, leadership, resources, and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement. 

“We recognize these institutions for their exceptional commitment to community engagement, and their work to transform knowledge into meaningful action,” said Timothy Knowles, president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. “They exemplify the true spirit of the Carnegie endorsement and the power of serving the public good.”


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