Center for Community Engagement

About PVCS


Summer Internships

Once accepted into PVCS, you will apply for program-specific internships in Holyoke and Amherst. This process is like applying to any other job or internship. You may be interviewed by one, all, or none of your organizations of choice. The organization makes the final decision on who will work for them based on their specific needs. If none of your top choices selects you, CCE staff will work with you to find another placement. Students will work four full days during the week at their internship placement site and spend one day in class and other programed activities.

Weekly Seminar

Weekly seminar is a chance for you to connect with your peers, reflect on your experience and access the theoretical and analytical tools to help you understand your community and yourself better. Emphasis in seminar is placed on:

  • Exploring big questions that connect us all. For example: What does community mean to you?
  • Examining issues of housing, education and public health locally and nationally.  
  • Connecting the ways in which privilege, oppression and identity shape communities and our own life expereinces.
  • Practicing compassion, empathy and openness, which is at the core of how relate to each other and to communities in PVCS.

Classes are held one day a week from 9 to 5 and all students accepted into PVCS are expected to attend.

In classes we might:

  • Have lunch with community members to talk about important issues going on in the community
  • Take a trip to a specific place in Holyoke or Amherst to make real world connections
  • Do team building activities and group work around reading assignments
  • Watch a movie or documentary related to the topic of the week

Seminar can be a challenging experience when students are at their learning edge; our conversations are about real topics and how they relate to us personally and to the communities where we are living and working. To maximize students learning and well-being, classes are structured similarly to the Intergroup Dialogue Model, which emphasizes listening, respect of all opinions, dialogue and open-mindedness.

PVCS Stipend

Pioneer Valley interns receive on-campus housing in Newport Dorm and a $2,000 stipend. Students eligible for the Federal Work Study program may be eligible for additional funds.

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Program Requirements

Pioneer Valley interns are required to attend all programing during the summer and complete all class related assignments. Pioneer Valley interns are also expected to complete a final reflection at the end of the summer.

Living in Newport

Living with your cohort in Newport can be a really great experience. It can also lead to unexpected group dynamics and challenges.  Students are responsible for preparing their own meals and grocery shopping- something that is new for many PVCS particpants.Students are also expected to keep shared living spaces clean for all to enjoy. There is now the possibility for a partial meal plan over the summer.

Weekends and Free Time

All students are encouraged to plan group events with each other during the weekends, although sometimes it is nice to just relax after a long week of work. The CCE does not arrange weekend entertainment however CCE vans are available for student organized group events.  Students may organize a group dinner, team bowling, take a trip to Puffer’s Pond or attend one of the many events that happen locally during the summer.  

What if I have more questions?

Contact Julia Alexander at or stop by the CCE

The application deadline March 1, 2014. Application goes live on Quest Monday February 3.