Center for Community Engagement

Pioneer Valley Citizen Summer

APPLY NOW! Deadline March 2nd 2015, 11:59pm

We strongly encourage applicants to set up an advising session!  Register to schedule an appointment now!

What is Pioneer Valley Citizen Summer?

Pioneer Valley Citizen Summer (PVCS) a residential summer internship program that combines social justice curriculum, local Pioneer Valley internships, and communal living. Students:

  • Live together on campus
  • Work for a public service organization in either Holyoke or Amherst for June and July
  • Participate in a weekly seminar that focuses race, class, and other social identities in relation to housing, public health and education.

Together, students explore meaningful ways to promote social justice and thoughtful, positive community engagement while gaining important work experience. During PVCS, students have the opportunity to dialogue through difference and engage in reflective practices that inspire a greater self-awareness. If you’re interested in social justice, meaningful community engagement, forming a deep connection with your peers and learning more about yourself and the community, PVCS may be the summer opportunity for you!

What Do Students Receive?

Students receive a $2,000 stipend, a partial meal plan and on-campus housing.

What Are The Dates?

PVCS runs from the beginning of June to the end of July

What Are Fridays?

Fridays are 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 experiences.
  • Practicing compassion, empathy and openness, which is at the core of how relate to each other and to communities in PVCS.

Fridays run from 9 to 5 and all students accepted into PVCS are expected to attend. Fridays can be an 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 learning and well-being, classes are structured similarly to the Intergroup Dialogue Model, which emphasizes listening, respect of all opinions, dialogue and open-mindedness.

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 students.Students are also expected to keep shared living spaces clean for all to enjoy!

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