Programs and Partners

The Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M. Institute for Civic Engagement works with numerous organizations on and off campus to enhance the lives of community members. 

Flagship Programs

The Western New York Service-Learning Coalition (WNYSLC) is a growing collaboration of colleges, universities and community organizations throughout the Buffalo-Niagara region.  The vision of the WNYSLC is to become the hub for service-learning in Western New York and to serve as a conduit for community organizations seeking service-learning students as well as for higher education institutions placing them.

The Sustainable Sandals Project is a local operation coordinated through Niagara University that collects sandals that are gently worn by tourists who visit the Cave of the Winds attraction in Niagara Falls. The sandals are stylish, sturdy, comfortable, and waterproof. Instead of throwing approximately 300,000 of these sandals away, the Cave of the Winds donates them to the Sustainable Sandals Project.

Volunteers and supporters of the project sort, sanitize and box the sandals, which are then distributed to individuals in need of footwear worldwide. Locally, the Sustainable Sandals Project gives the sandals to churches, missions, soup kitchens, community centers and street outreaches. The sandals are also sent to organizations nationally to be distributed to their missions. Internationally, the sandals are sent to areas in need of shoes such as Cuba, Haiti, India, Kenya and Malaysia.

At NU, faculty and staff have taken sandals on mission trips to Malawi, Guatemala, and El Salvador. This project is, at its heart, Vincentian, through providing people with secure, sturdy and comfortable footwear. It also provides a high quality service learning opportunity for students in the College of Business and throughout the university.

On-Campus Partners

B.O.L.D., which stands for Business Organizational Leadership Development, is a newly formed club within the College of Business Administration that focuses on developing students into leaders and experienced businessmen and women. This club allows students to take what they've learned in class and apply these methods to service-learning projects. These projects allow students to gain firsthand knowledge of consulting, marketing, finance and operations skills as well as provides firsthand knowledge of business operations creating well-rounded individuals. In addition, students give back in these projects by helping organizations in the local community as well as assisting those in need around the world.

Currently, the club is working on it's Sustainable Sandals Project, which is a local operation coordinated through Niagara University that collects sandals that are gently worn by tourists who visit the Cave of the Winds attraction in Niagara Falls. Instead of throwing away approximately 250,000 of these sandals each year, the Cave of the Winds donates them to the Sustainable Sandals Project, which then sorts, sanitizes and boxes the sandals. The sandals are then distributed worldwide to individuals in need of footwear. The club is currently working with distribution companies and local mission groups to get the sandals to those in need in Third World countries. This project and club is, at its heart, Vincentian, providing people with donated footwear as well as offering service-learning opportunities to Niagara University students.

Off-Campus Partners

The Education Award Program encourages civic engagement among college students, promotes the National Service movement, and encourages positive relationships between campuses and communities. The program meets critical community needs by engaging college students in service as part-time AmeriCorps members, fostering within them an ethic of civic responsibility.

Once students complete 300 hours of service in a calendar year, they are eligible to receive a $1,175 Education Award to be applied toward federal student loans or the cost of attendance at a college. 

For more information about NYCC’s Education Award Program, check out http://www.nycampuscompact.org/education-award-program.html.