Since 1989 the Meelia Center has connected classroom and community.  Every semester over 250 students in dozens of courses across the disciplines apply class concepts through their community engagement.  Sometimes an optional assignment, and sometimes built into the fabric of the course for all students, community engaged learning can deepen understanding of course material and build student skills and confidence. It also generates significant positive community impact.   

Models of Community Engaged Learning

There are 3 types of Community Engaged Learning within the Meelia Center that offer a wide range of learning opportunities and ways to engage with the Manchester community. 

With community based engaged-learning the placement sites available to students are determined by the course goals defined by the faculty member.  Students who choose the community based engaged-learning option are provided with an orientation, on-going support, and reflection opportunities.  If you are an education, nursing, fine arts or social work major you will take a number of required community based engaged-learning courses which lay a foundation for later practicum experiences.

Community Partners

The Meelia Center has more than 50 sites from which to choose with engagement options to accommodate all levels of commitment, interest, and educational purposes.

Our sites serve a variety of populations and provide unique opportunities focused on early childhood, girl empowerment, after-school enrichment, elder care, hospice care, special needs interactions of all ages and levels, disadvantaged youth associations, people in crisis, and advocacy for new ideas.

Weekly student volunteers go out with at least one other person, expanding student networks on campus, for two or more hours each week for the entire semester. Yearlong commitments are encouraged and supported. Committed student volunteers can join with agency staff and clients and eventually run their own activities or workshops onsite. The Meelia Center provides support and materials as needed to encourage all student involvement. Often, these weekly opportunities invite students to take on leadership roles at the site. Many of the Center's strongest community connections were developed by student leaders who forged new relationships with the community.

If you are interested in volunteering and making a difference within our community, please reach out to the student coordinator on the site list, stop by the Meelia Center, or email