The Swearer Center helps students prepare to engage with community partners

Swearer hosts Engagement Preparation Days to streamline clearance processes for students and partner organizations
September 27, 2023

This past Saturday, September 23rd, students looking to begin their work with a local community partner came to the Swearer Center for assistance with the various clearance processes required. This is one of three Engagement Preparation Days (EPD) hosted at Swearer this month; the last date for Swearer students to attend is this Saturday, September 30, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

When you are asked, “How was your college experience?” you will remember the friends you made, the mentors you connected with, the most interesting classes you took and many students will remember how their community engagement work impacted them. You don’t spend time reminiscing about your experience of being asked to “please fill out these forms” and having to hunt for various documents, remember old passwords and email multiple people to accomplish this seemingly simple task. 

Completing the clearance processes required for Brown students to work directly with their community partners has not always been simple. There are a number of steps that necessitate multiple parties coordinating students, the Swearer Center, community partners, site leaders and various iterations of compliance tracking. As of Spring 2023, the Swearer Center has begun hosting Engagement Preparation Days to streamline these processes and create sustainable accessibility for our students and community partners. 

“We want to institutionalize this in a way that allows our partners to access us easily. Swearer is successful at this because we have active ongoing presences and relationships with partners. It’s not just a one-and-done process. It’s the beginning of a partnership with a community that needs these checks,” says Asia Stevens, Department Manager at the Swearer Center.

On three different Saturdays at the beginning of each semester, the Center provides laptops and direct access to trainings, notary services and on-site assistance with all clearance processes. This process is required and fully financially covered by the Swearer Center for Swearer-affiliated students. 

Stevens says “This [process] requires intentionality because of our values, the values we have at the Swearer Center and Brown and the values held by our students and community partners. Every parent deserves to know that their child is safe when their child is away from them. One of the most comforting things we can do to provide that support is to have those background checks and these clearance processes. This is a meeting point for the student and the partner. We want to be an intermediary for what the partner wants and what the student can do. We don’t want background checks to hinder students' engagement because they can’t travel to various locations, connect with the right people, etc. Swearer is effective as a liaison."

Any Swearer-affiliated student is welcome to come to the Swearer Center during Engagement Preparation Days to initiate the clearance process. Go to our website to learn more and keep up-to-date on EPD dates.

The final EPD for this semester is this Saturday, September 30, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. If you are a Swearer-affiliated student and still need to complete your clearance processes, join us at 2 Stimson Ave. this weekend - there will be free snacks and coffee!