Civic Engagement

Blooming blue hydrangea in front of New Hall

Increasing Ways to Connect with and Enrich the Greater Community.

Westfield fosters civic engagement activities that emphasize knowledge, skills, and values. That leads to informed and meaningful participation in democratic processes and positive social change.

- Volunteer activities have included food drives, environmental protection and conservation, and annual walks and runs to raise funds.

- Examples of engagement on the international level include Westfield students working in Nicaragua to build a school and in Guatemala to teach health and nutrition.

  • 300+

    Different services projects each year

  • 60,000+

    Student volunteer hours each year

Campus Involvement

HOOT: “Helping Out Our Town”

Incoming freshman at Westfield State give their time to help their community. The event brings the University into the community to help by volunteering wherever they’re needed.  It is a great way for new students to connect and meet with city merchants, businesses and residents. In the past, students have grabbed paint and brushes to spruce up a Westfield pre-school playground, which was a money-saver for the city, and a great way for the community and the University to continue our partnerships.

Trees and Shrubs Workshop

In a collaborative effort between Stanley Park, Westfield State University, and the Greater Westfield Community, Nature Workshops are conducted in the 200-acre Wildlife Sanctuary at Stanley Park. Led by local professionals in their field, Westfield State biology professor David Lovejoy hosted a free nature workshop on "Trees and Shrubs" for the community.

“Trailwork Thursday”

Environmental Science students volunteer for "Trailwork Thursday," and worked on the University's Wildland Trail by cutting and hacking unwanted vegetation.  The students learn about civic engagement and responsibility. The trail maintenance results in a well-kept trail. 

The Internship Incentive Program

The Internship Incentive Program is funded by a state grant and matched dollar for dollar by Westfield State. As a result of the grant, students are provided with funds to pursue educational experiences that they may not have otherwise been able to afford.

Run Stanley 5K

The annual Run Stanley 5K run and walk to benefit the Frank Stanley Beveridge Wildlife Sanctuary at Stanley Park is co-organized by Westfield State professor Vanessa Diana. The event raises funds for rebuilding and replacing trail bridges damaged and washed away in recent storms. Participants are a community of runners, walkers, hikers, dog owners, nature lovers and mountain bikers who love Stanley Park and want to improve the safety and accessibility of its wildlife trails. The University is a benefactor of the beautiful 272 acre park, and it is directly across the street.

Measuring the Effects of Removing a Dam

Professor Dave Christensen takes his conservation biology class out on field work every couple of weeks to get students working in a real environment: the Kinne Brook, a tributary of the Westfield River.  The students collect data that will be used to determine the health of the stream and its fish and the effects of dam removal on the environment. The project is an education component of a Massachusetts Fish and Game study, which is partnering with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Trout Unlimited and the Nature Conservancy to study the stream.

Westfield State Community Gardens 

Members of the campus community maintain a community garden on campus.  The garden, located on the grounds of the Horace Mann building, allows Westfield State students to apply the concepts they are learning in the classroom and benefits folks on campus and in the community. The garden was started by professor Henry Wefing, and his legacy continues today. Produce is donated to the Westfield Food Pantry.

Connecticut River Source to Sea Cleanup

Westfield State students show up in force to volunteer for the Westfield River Watershed Association’s annual Westfield River Cleanup.  The student volunteers spend more than three hours of their Saturday helping clean up the Westfield River Watershed.

Annual Haunted House 

Haunted House and Halloween Fun Stop

Student at Westfield State stage an amazing ‘haunted house’ for children from the community.  Hard work and imagination create a Halloween experience for the ‘trick or treaters.’ All the proceeds go to Paws with a Cause, which is a program to enhance the independence and quality of life for people with disabilities through custom-trained Assistance Dogs.

Campus Sustainability Day

Campus Sustainability Day

Campus Sustainability Day, which originated in 2002, is a time to recognize the successes, challenges, and innovations of sustainability in higher education. This event brings awareness to ecological footprints and how they can be reduced.

Alzheimer’s Walk

Members of the Westfield State community along with people from surrounding communities participated in the annual Alzheimer’s Walk in support of eradiating this disease and in support of a Westfield State colleague battling Early Onset Alzheimer's.

Supporting Our Community
Food Drive For Local Elementary Schools

The Nursing and Allied Health Department place boxes across campus locations to support their annual spring food drive to fight hunger in children in local elementary schools. The boxes of food are then donated to fill the pantries of the Juniper, Highland, and Paper Mill elementary schools.

Water Stop!

Westfield State University sponsors a water stop in support of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Westfield’s 5k and 10k and half-marathon event. Members of various Westfield State athletic teams volunteer to support participants with a water stop at the main campus entrance.

Pink in the Rink

The Westfield State Ice Hockey team sponsors a “Pink the Rink” game every year. The team wears a specially designed jersey for the event and offers these jerseys for sale.  Proceeds from the sales of the jerseys is donated to the Cancer House of Hope in Westfield.

Buzz Off For Cancer

Buzz Off For Cancer is an event, at which participants raise money by shaving their heads to symbolize a child battling cancer. All the proceeds benefit children and their families’ battling pediatric cancer.

Earth Week

Earth Week is celebrated for one week with films and discussions, environmental awareness activities, and volunteer work including a volunteer crew cleaning up the Westfield River.

College 101

Westfield State annually hosts College 101 for Westfield middle-school students to give local eighth graders a taste of the college experience. The eighth graders participate in a science lab, attend lectures, and hear from students who have studied abroad. The students also learn about the wide selection of extra-curricular activities available as a Westfield State undergraduate student.

Westfield River Symposium

Westfield State and the Westfield River Watershed Association sponsor the annual Westfield River Symposium with a variety of speakers and exhibitors in the morning and field trips in the afternoon.

Nursing Students to Guatemala

Westfield State nursing students and faculty members travel to Santa Maria de Jesus, Guatemala during spring break as a clinical and civic engagement element for their nursing courses. While in Guatemala, students build wheelchairs, build a house for a family, provide and serve 400 children a protein meal for lunch and deliver sandwiches and fruit to the local homeless population. In addition, students visit a daycare of 100 students and donated arts and crafts and school supplies.

Spring River Cleanup

At the annual spring cleanup event, Westfield State students accumulated trash and debris from the riverbanks at several sites to celebrate Earth Day. 

Westfield State and Westfield Voc-Tech Build Sets

Westfield State and Westfield Technical Academy team up to produce sets for the University’s musical productions. The partnership exposes Westfield Technical Academy students to art and music, while Westfield State students have the opportunity to work alongside the high school’s skilled carpentry and graphic arts students.

Month Celebrating Women

For nearly 30 years, Westfield State has held events dedicated to awareness and celebration of women’s rights and issues involving women globally as a part of the Month Celebrating Women. What started off as a week-long celebration organized around International Women’s Day, is now a month-long tribute in March featuring guest speakers, concerts, and art exhibits.

Annual Westfield State Health Fair

Community members participate in the annual Health Fair sponsored by the University. More than 30 organizations are represented at the health fair including Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the American Red Cross. Westfield State nursing students, assisted by Westfield Vocational Technical High School students, offered free blood pressure screenings. Several departments from Noble Hospital offered free glucose screenings; the head of the Center for Comprehensive Breast Health is available to answer questions about breast health; and, a variety of organizations offered educational pamphlets and information about health conditions and support resources.

Global Service in Nicaragua

A group of Westfield State students travel to Nicaragua in January each consecutive year as part of a Global Service Learning course.  Each year, the students travel to Granada, Nicaragua to assist La Esperanza Granada, a local nonprofit that focuses on improving children’s education. The organization aids more than 2,000 children in poverty-stricken areas. Students have raised more than $30,000 for the community, and built an entire community center, along with classrooms and an updated water system.

Relay for Life

Westfield State University holds a Relay for Life even on campus. The event is the main volunteer-driven cancer fundraising event of the American Cancer Society. 

Reach to Teach

Westfield State University and the Springfield Public School System have formed a partnership aimed at attracting and helping more minority students to become teachers.

The program, titled Reach to Teach, offers students incentives to pursue a degree in education – including mentorship in high school and tuition assistance at Westfield State. The partnership is a "grow your own" teacher preparation model, which commits participants to a three-year teaching agreement with Springfield Public Schools upon their successful completion of the Westfield State program.

Partnerships with Holyoke Community College and Springfield Technical Community College

Westfield State has partnered with Holyoke Community College and STCC to make a four-year college degree more affordable. The presidents of Westfield State, HCC, and STCC have signed agreements between the institutions that caps the cost of an associate degree plus a bachelor's degree at $30,000 for eligible students. The agreement will expand access to a higher education to those who can't afford it, while adding to the pool of highly skilled workers the region's economy needs.