Engaged with Impact

Students collaborate with community partners, across disciplines, for lasting effects and learning.

by Beth Paul

Serena Viktor assisting a homeless person

Serena Viktor ’20, ’21G, working at the Project Homeless Connect event in 2019. Nazareth's undergraduate and graduate social work students and faculty have helped plan, coordinate, and volunteer at the community effort, which in one day serves more than 800 people who are homeless or near homeless. The event connects the guests to services such as dental care, medical services, hearing screenings, housing information, benefit applications, and legal advocacy.

Since its founding, Nazareth has been dedicated to educating changemakers — people who see the challenges in our world, cultivate understanding from many different perspectives, imagine opportunities and possibilities for progress, and collaborate with others to bring about positive change.

At Nazareth, being a changemaker is a way of learning and living, not just a post-graduate goal or outcome. The Nazareth education engages students as changemakers from the start, emboldening students to learn and grow through diverse learning opportunities that integrate different disciplines of study, various perspectives and belief systems, and an array of life experiences.

A powerful part of the changemaker learning experience is community-engaged learning — partnering with people beyond campus, joining together for the shared aim of creating a more just, healthy, and equitable world. Changemakers value all individuals, understanding that everyone is at once teacher and student, helper and helped. And together, through these collaborations that are enriched by bridging differences, our students work for community progress on specific community-identified challenges, reflect and learn, and then keep working to advance their efforts and impact.

It is this open exploration, textured understanding, and perseverance that fuels students’ innovative ideas and efforts for change while at Naz and throughout their life’s work. Naz students don’t have to wait until after graduation to benefit our community – they make a difference through their learning.

A wonderful illustration of how our students make a difference in our world while at Nazareth is the collaborative community work with people affected by homelessness. For more than a decade, Nazareth’s social work department has coordinated faculty and students from across Nazareth’s health and human service programs to partner with community organizations in a major event to holistically address the needs of people who are homeless or near homeless. The work has included health and mental health screenings for adults, comprehensive developmental screenings for children, and other services to better connect thousands of guests to resources and care systems.

Nazareth continues to create and build these educational, interdisciplinary, and significant collaborations to confront community-identified challenges. Among the latest is Project RISE, which brings together students and faculty in education and health and human services to work with community partners to better meet the needs of children with disabilities.

A Nazareth education is engaged with impact, learning by making a difference. Upon graduating, our students have a powerful story to tell of their already potent changemaker journey — their life’s work already begun.

I hear repeatedly from employers about how a Nazareth education makes Naz graduates stand out. With their deep sense of ethics and integrity, equity and inclusion, care and compassion, Naz graduates are coveted as colleagues who are engaged with impact in a wide array of occupations throughout all sectors of society. Naz changemakers do not sit on the sidelines. They see, study, think, collaborate, act, try and try again, push boundaries, and speak up. They see and endeavor to understand the world from different lenses, their curiosity fueled by a fulsome liberal arts education. They relish challenge, diving into complex problems and using their collective ingenuity to develop fresh approaches to address them. And with humility and tenacity, they never stop learning and they never stop trying to make a positive difference.

Nazareth people are the change we wish to see in the world!

Beth Paul, Ph.D., is the president of Nazareth University.

Beth Paul and Kimberly Holder

Beth Paul and Kimberly Holder-Callender ‘23 at the March 8 International Women's Day march on campus.

Engaged with Impact

Nazareth emphasizes engaged learning with social and community impact. More on Nazareth's efforts: Engaged with Impact ≫