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Anna Maria College Has a Long History of Community Service
The founders of Anna Maria College, the Sisters of Saint Anne, were determined to set down deep roots when the college moved to its new Paxton campus in 1951.
That commitment continues to this day.
For the past three years, the federal Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has honored Anna Maria College as a nationwide leader among institutions of higher education for its support of volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement. The college also is on the CNCS President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.
Today, the 1,500-student institution's ties with its community remain strong, innovative and mutually beneficial:
Free classes are available to Paxton residents, who also have opportunities to access the college library and use the campus for meetings and events – free of charge.
The campus serves as the town's Emergency Shelter.
The college pays fees for services, such as water and electricity.
Under a model program, the Paxton Police Department oversees security for the college. The arrangement is efficient for both the town and college, and generates financial support that pays for additional police officers.
Anna Maria's IT Department provides support services to the town, another cost-effective and efficient arrangement.
The college's Fire Science students work in the Paxton Fire Department and Criminal Justice students work in the dispatch center of the police department. The arrangement benefits the town, and the students gain valuable work experience.
Student interns work in the Town Hall.
Several libraries in the Wachusett School District are maintained by students.
The college and the town collaborate on the use of the college and town athletic fields.
Anna Maria College provides annual scholarship support to the Worcester Catholic Diocese's Adopt-A-Student Program. In the 2011-12 academic year, Worcester students received grants and scholarships from the college totaling more than $1 million. Worcester County students received $4.2 million in financial support.
In addition, Anna Maria students volunteer their time and talents at homeless shelters, food kitchens and other social service organizations in the Central Massachusetts area. Between semesters, students work with area agencies to serve those in need.
Every year, the college's community of students, staff, faculty and administrators participate in the United Way of Central Massachusetts' Day of Caring. For the past three years, Anna Maria College has sent more than 300 volunteers – more than any other organization – to provide needed services to low-income housing residents, social service agencies and other deserving organizations.
Other annual service activities include a backpack and school supplies drive for area elementary students and the Giving Tree, which collects gifts, including warm clothing, for distribution to people in need.