Community needs, volunteers connect in new online tool

Community ConnectWith the launch of ComMUnity Connect, a volunteer recruitment, management and tracking platform, Miami University opens a two-way channel between the community and potential volunteers.

ComMUnity Connect lets students, faculty and staff search for community engagement opportunities and allows nonprofit and other civic organizations to post volunteer needs online on an ongoing basis. In essence, it's a matching software for volunteers and nonprofits.

The platform will be used at all three local Miami campuses.

ComMUnity Connect provides several important benefits to the university, including:

  • The consolidation in one location of all volunteer opportunities for students, faculty and staff.
  • A variety of opportunities for faculty to search when developing Service-Learning courses and other community-based projects.
  • Targeted search ability based on interests, causes and geography.
  • The ability to sign up for volunteer projects on-the-spot, communicate with nonprofits through the system, sign necessary risk and liability waivers, etc.
  • The tracking and verification of volunteer hours, which gives the university accurate information about the impact it has in the community and eliminates tomes of paperwork and hundreds of person-hours.

ComMUnity Connect will be accessible year-round and allows community members to see opportunities as well, though they won’t yet have access. It supports Miami's mission to “empower its students, faculty and staff to become engaged citizens who use their knowledge and skills with integrity and compassion to improve the future of our global society.”

“We believe this new tool will increase levels of community engagement in Southwest Ohio and provide us with a more accurate picture of how Miami University is already contributing toward solutions to public challenges,” said Christie Zwahlen, director of Miami’s Office of Community Engagement and Service.

The platform was chosen through a collaborative process with the community engagement staff at Miami’s campuses. All three local campuses contribute to the cost and maintenance of the program:

  • Hamilton - Center for Civic Engagement
  • Middletown - Office of Community Engagement and Service
  • Oxford - Office of Community Engagement and Service