Eligibility, Requirements and Expectations


Applicants must be eligible for Mount Holyoke College employment

Applicants must have either taken a Community Based Learning course at MHC or other Five Colleges institution – or - held a significant volunteer or work-study leadership position with an area community organization

Applicants for CBL positions are expected to commit fully to their community partner by performing 8 hours of on-site work per week. In special circumstances, responsibilities do not require a full-time position, in which case exceptions may be made. But as a rule, all students should consider their CBL position as their primary paid employment and first priority. CBL Mentors and Admin Fellows are also expected to commit fully to their roles, but it is also common that these roles may not require the full-time obligation.

Applicants must be in the second semester of their first year – or – in their sophomore or junior year. Students entering their first semester of senior year will be considered only if they are selected and endorsed by a community partner with whom they are already working in some capacity (e.g. from a summer internship, volunteer, CBL course, or work-study project).  Second-semester seniors may serve as CBL Mentors, but cannot apply for paid fellowships. All students are welcome to explore other credit-bearing (unpaid) independent study or community service projects as appropriate.


All CBL Program student staff must participate in community-building trainings/orientations, lunch and reflection meetings, events, and represent the CBL Program on- and off-campus as needed.


Commit to a two-semester 8 hour a per week placement  to community organizations/projects, CBL course support, and/or other CBL Program administrative duties.

Enroll in 2-credit CBL Program Courses: CUSP 202: Networking, Reflection and Meaning (Fall); AND CUSP 203: Integrating Learning, Service and Social Action (Spring)

Complete a Community Fellow Learning Agreement with their community partner, which sets out placement expectations including scheduling, project aims and methods.


Commit to supporting a CBL course for the fall and/or spring semester

Complete a CBL Mentor Agreement with their supervising faculty member, which sets out mentorship roles and expectations, including schedules and responsibilities.

SELECTION: Priority consideration is given to applicants who:

Are recommended by a current MHC faculty member

Demonstrate an understanding and familiarity with the community-based organization, the population it serves, the community it is in, and the services it provides.

Have a desire to advance social justice, education and community development aims.  

Best connect student skills, interests and intellectual/professional trajectories with opportunities presented by community partners.

are driven, community-minded students who have the interest and potential to develop citizenship, advocacy and nonprofit career skills through year-long projects with local community partners

Propose community engagement projects that respond to an identified community need, with significant consideration of relevant resources and partner aspirations.

Final selection of Fellows: Depends on creating a compelling match between faculty endorsement, student interests, skills, and qualifications, and community priorities, needs, and opportunities.

Final selection for Mentors: Depends on faculty endorsement of Mentor applicants.

Program EXPECTATIONS: CBL Student Staff are expected to;

Reflects the principles of the Holyoke Campus Compact

Carry out their CBL placements with the highest levels of professionalism, responsibility, and reliability

Contribute to a vibrant campus network of community-based learners, as active participants of the CBL community

Maintain consistent and thorough communications with CBL Program staff. It is vital that CBL staff be aware of and are consulted on initiatives taken by Fellows and Mentors involving other campus and community partners and resources

Commit to providing clear and substantial documentation regarding their projects to their community partners and to the CBL Program at the close of their projects. This aspect is a critical component of your/our commitment to reciprocity and ethical practice in community-based learning.

Respect the multiple perspectives, sources of knowledge, needs and opportunities within the community.

Participate in a program of ongoing professional development including workshops, trainings, and reflection sessions

Enhance civic participation and social justice on campus and in the community.

Contribute to periodic postings on the CBL Community Engagement BLOG & CBL FACEBOOK page and also write reflections to share with other fellows or program staff about project experiences.