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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Caught in the ACT: 25 Years of Service

<ll, the ACT Center is celebrating its 25th year of existence. The ACT Center was founded in 1985 by Julia O’Grady ’85. Julia took a handful of service organizations and combined them into the ACT Center. Julia and others persuaded Carleton’s President Bob Edwards to devote resources to start this service hub at Carleton. In the ACT Center’s first year, the number of volunteers at Carleton increased from approximately 60 to 250.
In the next two years, the number of programs and volunteers increased steadily, and Greg Rhodes ’87 brought the first ACT car to campus, donated by Dokmo Ford Chrysler in town. Dokmo has provided the ACT vehicle every year to this day. Around this time ACT moved from the President’s Office and became part of Campus Activities. By the end of the 1980’s, there were 24 ongoing ACT programs.

In 1990 the ACT Center began the “Into the Streets” program for new students that eventually became today’s “Into the Arb,” and inaugurated its first “Spring Break Away!” Habitat for Humanity trips. In 1992, the class of 1967 created an endowment for ACT that has provided funding to programs and continues to do so today. In 1993 the position of Coordinator Assistant was created as a student work-study job to aid the Coordinator (a position occupied by a recent graduate for one year) in supporting the growing number of Program Directors. In 1994 the Coordinator position became permanent.

The first Pre-Frosh Service trip was held in 1995, ACT’s ten year anniversary. Coordinator Assistants were renamed Student Coordinators. Lissa Staples, the first permanent ACT Coordinator strengthened ACT by creating a structure very similar to the one that exists today and solidifying the Program Director and Student Coordinator roles. By 2000, ACT had 37 programs, 72 PDs, 7 SCs, and volunteers who logged over 11,000 hours.

In 2001, Candace Lautt took over as ACT Coordinator and expanded ACT to 50 ongoing programs with over one hundred PDs. Lautt reorganized the programs into issue areas and designated specific SCs to oversee each. She also worked hard to advance Academic Civic Engagement at Carleton.

Laura Riehle-Merrill took over as ACT Coordinator in 2005 and a fifth-year position, the ACT Educational Associate was created to assist her. After a review process, SCs submitted a proposal to make ACT its own department of Student Life. This was accepted in 2007 and Riehle-Merrill became the first ACT Director. Also in 2007, St. Olaf and Carleton secured funds for a permanent Community Based Work Study Coordinator.

In the summer of 2008, the Educational Associate position became a permanent Assistant Director position, and the office moved into its current location, swapping offices with Campus Activities.

Now that you know some of the history of ACT, come celebrate with us! On the Monday of midterm break, ACT and CSA are hosting a Day of Service consisting of 25 volunteer projects in commemoration of ACT’s 25 years. Stay tuned for sign ups!

-Joe Marren, on behalf of the ACT office.

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