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Getting Involved Off-Campus


One of the best things about Coe—a small college in a big town—is that it affords many opportunities for participating in the life of the city. Spending a few hours volunteering off-campus each semester is a great way for you to learn from community leaders and to meet new friends outside your classes. Some local organizations I’m involved with include:

  • Legion Arts/ CSPS
    A slice of New York City right here in Iowa, this is a place you’re instantly going to fall in love with. They bring contemporary visual art, world music, folk music, and cutting-edge performance art to Cedar Rapids, but they’re also a connection point for progressive thinkers and outsiders of every sort. A 30-minute walk from Coe, CSPS depends on volunteers to stage all its events. Want to know more? Contact me.

  • Polk Elementary School
    Just a 5-minute walk from campus, Polk is an elementary school with a big, big heart. Coe students (and the occasional faculty member) volunteer there in a number of capacities, the simplest of which involves spending one lunch period a week reading, playing games, and just talking with a Polk student. It’ll be a highlight of your week. Just ask me how and I’ll get you pointed in the right direction.

  • Waypoint Women’s and Children’s Services
    Waypoint is the local resource for education, advocacy, and support regarding sexual assault and domestic violence. They lead support groups for survivors and families, operate a women’s shelter, and do outreach and training at schools including Coe. Volunteering with Waypoint is incredibly rewarding as well as being an education unto itself. Many students do, and you should consider it as well.

  • Wellington Urban Gardens
    If you’re on campus during the summer, come lend a hand at the Wellington Urban Gardens. They’re only a few blocks’ walk from campus and they’re absolutely amazing. They turn empty, weedy lots into beautiful, productive gardens. You’ll help middle-schoolers learn organic gardening skills; you’ll pick vegetables for the local food pantry; you’ll help plant butterfly gardens. Above all, the gardens transform community, encourage cooperation, bring people together. You have to see them to believe. If you want to get some dirt under your fingernails, get in touch with me.