“I’m really excited about being here and working with different groups and students on campus,” says Angelica Johnson, the new Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) worker at the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning.
As the newest VISTA worker, Johnson has a variety of responsibilities, including coordinating programs on campus to promote community service and engaging students. “Vista is different from other Americorps programs,” Johnson explains. “It’s focused more on sustainable community engagement. Instead of giving direct help to those in need, VISTA is designed to find creative ways to solve socio-economic problems. We’re focused on long-term improvement.”
In the year-long position, Johnson will be in charge of managing the Community Advisory Committee, comprised of prominent community figures, including local politicians and faculty members. The committee is responsible for brainstorming different opportunities with which HWS students can get involved, and assessing the success of these programs. Johnson also works with the HWS Compass program, designed to promote community service, civic engagement and civic leadership, both on campus and in the community. As part of the New York Campus Compact (NYCC), HWS is working to “integrate service learning into the academic curriculum,” Johnson says. “We’re trying to connect the classroom to community engagement.”
Johnson originally hails from Chicago, and recently graduated with a B.A. in political science from Carleton College in Northfield, Minn. While in her senior year, Johnson explains, “I thought about working in the corporate world for a while, but it didn’t feel like the right fit. So I checked out AmeriCorps, and read about the NYCC.”
Although greatly involved in student activism and diversity programs while at college, “I wished I had been more involved with the Northfield community while at Carleton,” Johnson says. “VISTA seemed like the perfect opportunity to make a difference, and I’m excited that I have a chance to get involved at Hobart and William Smith.”