October 18, 2018

New program has the potential to create up to 50,000 hours of high-quality volunteer time over five years

Hackettstown, N.J., Oct. 17, 2018—New Jersey Campus Compact (NJCC) has partnered with Centenary University to launch the Changebuilders Project. Under the new venture, hundreds of Centenary University students will engage and volunteer with communities, enabling them to make a difference in their local communities as Changebuilders. As a Changebuilder campus, Centenary has received a full-time AmeriCorps Changebuilder coordinator, Rachel Danitz, who will serve as a liaison between NJCC and Centenary to create opportunities for new college volunteers.

“The Changebuilders program will greatly enhance our community engagement initiatives, and Rachel is already deeply engaged in her work here, joining our newly expanded community engagement office,” said Centenary University President David P. Haney. “We are thankful to New Jersey Campus Compact for the opportunity to participate in this exciting project.”

Through the program, each Centenary student will participate in 40-100 volunteer hours per year. This project will result in between 10,000 and 50,000 hours of high quality, project-focused volunteer time dedicated to New Jersey organizations over the next five years—including students taking service learning, experiential philanthropy, and community based research courses, completing projects for nonprofits and local government, and working together to tackle issues of inequality.

A native of Great Meadows, N.J., Danitz was raised on the core principles of service, dignity, the worth of an individual, and the importance of human relationships and connections. A 2018 graduate of Centenary University’s business management program, Danitz was an intern with Soles4Souls last summer, and has first-hand experience with a broad range of community engagement projects. Her plans include revamping the University’s Midnight Run program, helping to coordinate another Soles4Souls shoe drive and distribution, and increasing Centenary’s involvement in local service to give the University a larger presence in the community. When she is not working or volunteering, Rachel is an avid equestrian, runner, and backpacker.

“Through the Changebuilders Program, we’re redefining service opportunities at Centenary University,” Danitz explained. “It’s a way to build Centenary’s brand in the community, while encouraging students to carry on the spirit of community engagement into their own communities and careers.”

According to Dr. Saul Petersen, executive director of New Jersey Campus Compact and director of the Changebuilders Project, “It is essential that we work to make New Jersey THE engaged state and, indeed, I believe we ALL play a crucial role. The more diversity in every facet of our civically engaged college graduates, the better for us all. Successful graduates in the 21st century must be adaptable to different experiences, understanding of different perspectives, innovative, and have grit. These are some of the qualities that strengthen communities and nurture a thriving workplace. ‘EngagedNJ’ is, therefore, the singular focus of all programming and partnerships here at New Jersey Campus Compact and represents the DNA of our new flagship initiative—Changebuilders.”

ABOUT CENTENARY UNIVERSITY

Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary University’s academic program integrates a solid liberal arts foundation with a strong career orientation. This mix provides an educational experience that prepares students to succeed in the increasingly global and interdependent world. The University’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, N.J., with its equestrian facility in Washington Township. The Centenary University School of Professional Studies offers degree programs at two locations, Parsippany and Edison, as well as online and at corporate sites throughout New Jersey.