UMass Dartmouth students can earn experiential learning credits for participating as Compeer volunteers. To do this you need to register for Psychology 298 or Nursing 298, both entitled "An Experiential Look at Mental Illness." Students must have sophomore standing and a 2.0 GPA to receive academic credit. (Freshmen can take the course non-credit.) Students earn 1 credit per semester and may earn up to 6 credits for participating in the program. The course meets once a week during the early evening for 2 weeks of training. Students are then matched, in pairs, to a local community residence or day program. They visit the residence or program once a week to socialize and engage in recreational activities. Students share their experiences weekly with the class in an on-line journal. The class comes together three more times for face-to-face discussion and/or guest speakers. The course is graded pass/fail. The time commitment is 3 hours a week.
After their first year of participation, students may request a one-to-one match, if they choose. One-to-one matches are always of the same gender. Returning students may also be asked to help with the initial training of new students.
Majors in psychology, social work, nursing, crime and justice, pre-med and pre-law are especially encouraged to consider taking this course. Students report receiving job interviews and subsequent employment as a direct result of their Compeer experience. When applying to med school, law school or graduate school, a student's Compeer experience looks particularly good on his or her resume. And perhaps most important of all, students describe their Compeer experience as the nicest part of their week and something they truly look forward to.
To register for Compeer for experiential learning credits
1. Registration takes place during the training. Here's the Fall 2013 schedule with date, time and place of trainings. If you cannot make the first training but want to participate, contact Christine Frizzell.
2. Download a CORI Request Form (criminal background check), print it, fill it out and bring it with a photo ID to the first training.
3. Look over a sample experiential learning contract (psychology and nursing majors or for all other majors). You will need to sign one of these during the first training. The instructor will bring copies already signed by university officials.
4. Choose a placement site from the list given to you at the first class. Some of the programs have an orientation process and/or background check for volunteers that can take substantial time. If you want to work with these programs, contact them as soon as possible after the first class to begin that process.
6. Check the Fall 2013 schedule .
7. Attendance Sheet Fill out this form weekly. Leave a copy with your placement site so they have your contact information in case of emergency or program cancellation.
8. Send in weekly journals using this format.
9. You may wish to write to a local newspaper about Compeer and your experience as a volunteer student for your final assignment. (See sample letter.)
Internships with Compeer
Interns who serve as Compeer volunteers also assist the program coordinator in a variety of tasks related to the day-to-day operation of the program. This is an excellent chance to learn about administration/management of non-profit and volunteer programs. The internship is graded pass/fail and carries 3 credits. For additional information or to apply contact Sister Joseph Marie Levesque at 508.999.8843. Students in business administration, nursing, psychology, humanities and social sciences, and sociology should consider this internship.
Compeer welcomes student help with grantwriting and publicity. Students in marketing and grantwriting courses are encouraged to contact Sister Joseph Marie Levesque , Program Coordinator (508.999.8843), to discuss working with Compeer as part of the requirements of other courses, as a class project, or as an internship.