Center for Community Engagement

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the trip cost?

We ask each participant to contribute $100 to help defray the costs of the trip.  However, any student who wishes to take part in the trip is welcome and all fee waiver requests will be granted.  Simply request a fee waiver on the Trip Registration webform.

Will I have time to meet other students?

YES! One of our main goals is to facilitate connections with other new students in a meaningful and lasting way. Rather than just trying to make new friends in the dining hall or in class, CEOT introduces you to 100 energetic, excited, and passionate new students. You won't just be trying to make conversation for three days; instead, you'll be working together towards common goals, participating in fun activities, and enjoying games, music and dance in your free time.

What will I be doing each day?

Each day features workshops, activities, and discussions related to engagement and service.  Students participate in activities and events. Past events have included inspiring speakers from community organizations, dance lessons, youth performances, and discussions about service and leadership. Students will have a chance to discuss their own ideas, contribute to discussion, speak with community leaders, and hear about their peers’ experiences, while contributing meaningful work to the Pioneer Valley area.

In the past, we have learned from community organizations including the Girls Inc, El Arco Iris, Nuestras Raices community farm, Habitat for Humanity, the Adult Learning Center, and Amherst Survival Center.

Do I need to have community work experience?

No previous community work experience is necessary. We welcome all students who have an interest in learning about community work.

Where are we going and where will we be staying?

Students will work in local communities in the Pioneer Valley. They will stay overnight at and use the facilities of community centers in the area.

What are the workshops and discussions about?

The workshops and discussions are intended to give context to the community work in which trip participants will be engaged. Some workshops will be led by trip leaders who will introduce various social issues. Others will be introduced by inspiring guest speakers who have significantly contributed to the development of their communities. Some past workshops subjects include youth empowerment, welfare, apathy, and inequality in education, the global economy, community organizing, and the cycle of poverty.

Why is the trip one night longer than the Outing trip (FOOT)?

The extra night is needed to help students fully immerse in the community. CEOT is unique for its in-depth introduction to the local community; the extra night helps students better understand the communities in which they're living, and gives them a chance to get to know each other better! Students will leave on Wednesday evening and return by Saturday afternoon.

What will I take away from my experiences on CEOT?

You can expect to gain knowledge about the area around Amherst College, make lasting friendships, have memorable experiences and acquire better understanding of community work. More than anything else, you will have tons of fun on CEOT!