6 Ways Your School Can Build Community Relationships
Your community is filled with diverse, amazing people–but you already know that. The relationship between your community and your school already exists. Now, it’s time for the fun part: maintaining it.
Community engagement takes many forms, and all are valuable. From volunteering as a team to simply talking to your students and families, you’re able to show the people in your community that you’re dedicated to building and supporting the neighborhood. Here’s a few community engagement activities to consider as you continue this relationship.
1. Park Cleanup
Neighborhood parks make communities special. Invite members of your staff or student clubs to clean up your local park (or parks, if you’ve got the numbers). This activity allows teams to bond and keeps local landmarks beautiful.
If you’re in a competitive mood, divide up into teams to see who can pick up the most – be sure to recycle when you can!
2. FAFSA Road Shows
Topics like financial aid can get complicated in a hurry.
Look for opportunities to take your financial aid team out into the community and answer questions in person. Reach out to local high schools or nonprofits to identify these opportunities to connect with families and students.
By doing this, you’re promoting education to those who may not know about the financial aid opportunities that are available to them – allowing them to pursue their dreams and improve their quality of life.
3. Food Drives
Many students in need and homeless people in communities rely on food banks for meals. Hosting a food drive makes a huge impact by providing one of the most important resources to a population in need of help.
Identify places on campus where food donations can be easily, safely dropped off and encourage your school members to donate.
To incentivize donations, try hosting competitions between dorm room floors or departments.
4. Engage with Local Nonprofits
Community nonprofits are well-equipped to make a difference. They typically have the know-how to get things done and people who are passionate about a unique cause. But often, they need friendly helping hands from their neighbors to continue making a difference.
Partner with nonprofits to put on a fundraiser, give them a shout out at your next community event, and invite them to things like job fairs to set your school apart and continue making a difference.
5. Use Social Media
Your students, parents, and staff all have at least one thing in common – they’re almost all on social media. Try hosting a live Q&A session on Facebook or engaging with nonprofits online. Be conversational, and try to avoid jargon. Your families will appreciate it.
6. Use Your Student Base
Your school likely has a number of student clubs who are passionate about their causes. Encourage them to act as ambassadors between the community and the school.
When students volunteer or engage in the community, it reflects positively on the university they attend. More importantly, they’re able to learn about the value of service and physically see the difference that even a small group of people can make.
Tell Us Your Story
How has your school practiced community engagement? Have there been certain strategies that worked better than others? Join the conversation by visiting our LinkedIn group–we’d love to hear from you!