Hamline News

LEAP into St. Paul 2018


Hamline University is a leader in student community service with the Liberal Education as Practice (LEAP), which began in 2013. As part of first-year students’ fall orientation, LEAP introduces new Pipers to the importance of community involvement and learning through immersion in not only life on campus, but in the surrounding neighborhoods and communities.

Coordinator for Civic Engagement and the Hamline to Hamline Collaboration Kevin Yang organizes the LEAP into St. Paul program. Yang explains that whether students are pulling weeds, rearranging a bookshelf, or preparing flyers, they come together to help the organizations that need it most.

“In many ways LEAP is an extension of our connection to the city. From the very first week, we introduce our first-year students to the beautiful community that Hamline is a part of through a morning service and engagement.” says Yang. “Although LEAP into St. Paul itself is only about two hours, the ultimate goal is to lay seeds for sustained relationships that our new students can continue to nurture throughout their time at Hamline.”

LEAP has an impact on students beyond their first semester. Third-year student Autumn Vagle notes, “During my LEAP, my eyes were opened to the experiences of low-income women looking for work, which was so far from my own life.”

LEAP is beneficial for students as they explore their new surroundings and it also benefits the organizations that are a part of the program.

“As the first university in the state of Minnesota, Hamline has long had a deep history with our surrounding neighborhoods throughout the Twin Cities metro.” says Yang. “The bonds that we’ve developed with these organizations are what makes what makes this experience unique, as they are all a reflection of our unique community.”

Much like the gardens that some students help with during LEAP, the growth of the relationship between Hamline and these organizations does not stop after the end of the program. The same organizations partner with Hamline year after year for LEAP and additional volunteer and service opportunities throughout the school year.

“Whether it be figuring out an internship at a site they first discovered at LEAP, or simply volunteering to shovel the driveway of an elder they met that day, the goal is to make these connections happen and to help students understand how service can be an engine for these relationships. Ultimately, this is a way to put our values into practice as our acronym applies, to understand that our education, when paired with service, have the ability to affect great change in our world.”

A list of the community programs, organizations and business that participated in LEAP 2018 are listed below.

Mano a Mano International
Hamline Midway Library
PCs for People
Dress for Success Twin Cities
Fisher house VA medical center
Catholic Charities
Hallie Q. Brown Community Center
Goodwill Easter Seals MN
Midway YMCA
East Side Elders
Jeremiah Program, St. Paul
Hamline Elementary
Mental Health MInnesota
Neighborhood House
Merrick Community Services
Project for Pride in Living (PPL)
Mid-Continent Oceanographic Institute
Hamline Midway Elders
ReUse Program at the University of Minnesota
St. Paul & Ramsey County Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (SPIP)
Cerenity Senior Care
Interact Center for the Visual and Performing Arts

To hear more, watch the LEAP into Saint Paul 2017 Piper Report.