Community Engagement Tips

Welcome to our Community Engagement Tips! Whether you are doing your community engagement work in person or remotely, this page will guide you through effective and meaningful engagement with your community partner. Above all, remember to practice patience and flexibility working with community partners. Let’s work together by listening and learning from one another to support needs and movements for social change.

5 Steps to Connecting with Community Partners

Before beginning your community engagement internship/projects consider the following:

  1. Talk to your professor or the CEC to determine the best placement site. Once you have figured out what community partner you will be working with…
  2. Connect with your partner and tell them you’re a student interested in completing your course-based or volunteer internship with their organization
  3. Complete any clearance, application, interview and/or hiring requirements before starting
  4. Confirm weekly availability & scheduling for the semester (or year) with your organization (Make sure to include start and end times and holidays)
  5. Make plans for technology (especially if you are working remotely)

Online Etiquette, Communication and Safety Precautions

Online Correspondence

Community partners’ staff, resources, and overall energy is highly impacted by the pandemic, political tensions, social unrest, etc. Whether you are talking to others by email or video chat there are a number of things to consider when working with community partners:

  • Ask for their preference in how they would like to be addressed (pronouns, pronunciations of names, etc).
  • Respectful greetings and introductions..
  • Have patience and consideration when communicating with staff members who may be pushed to their limits at this time.
  • Take the initiative to follow up.

Following Through on Commitments

Community partnerships are based upon real outcomes and outputs for non-profits and community organizations creating institutional and social change. Community  engagement during a pandemic is a serious matter for many of the community partners we are working with and can be given proper attention by:

  • Active listening is important on phone calls or video chats  (attentiveness, body language, etc).
  • Present yourself as a dedicated intern in appearance and/or voice.
  • Take notes, set calendar appointments.
  • Document your work and share updates.

Social Distancing & Other Safety Precautions

As we transition to a hybrid model of community engagement, please keep in mind social distancing safety precautions and follow our CEC COVID engagement protocols. In the case that you are working with community partner(s) that differ from Pitzer’s institutional COVID safety protocols, we ask that you adhere to the most restrictive requirements. For resources on COVID safety, testing, and vaccinations, visit our COVID Community Resources webpage.

Keep track of your internship hours with our INTERN WEEKLY TIMESHEET!