Service ProgramsCommunity Engagement Center

The Community Engagement Center provides a variety of services to the St. Peter community and surrounding area. Each year over 40 student program coordinators lead these outreach programs that engage over 400 student volunteers. The programs were established in collaboration with the St. Peter and surrounding communities and work directly with community partners or organizations to meet their identified needs. To learn more about each program, follow the links below.


How to Apply

Program applications are available on the respective webpages below for each program. Click the link to access the page for the particular program you are interested in. Most programs have a year-long committment and therefore begin in the fall. Programs that you can join in the spring include: Community Center Buddies, Elders, Language Buddies, Study Buddies, Hoffmann Learning Center and Wednesday Friends.

Big Partner/Little Partner

Big Partner/Little Partner (BPLP) is a mentorship program that pairs Gustavus students with youth from St. Peter and the surrounding communities to foster friendship and personal growth.

Community Center Buddies

Community Center Buddies is a program that connects Gustavus students with youth to build relationships and foster learning through a variety of after school activities at the St. Peter Community Center on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. 


Volunteers in the Elders program serve within nursing homes and assisted living apartments in the St. Peter community. 

Gustie Buddies

Gustie Buddies is a mentorship program that pairs Gustavus students and youth with developmental delays from St. Peter and the surrounding communities to foster friendship and personal growth.

Habitat for Humanity

Gustavus Habitat for Humanity works with local affiliates and chapters from around the country to build affordable housing for families in need. 

Language Buddies

Language Buddies develops strategic relationships for ongoing learning with Hispanic families and Gustavus students. The Language Buddies program is in partnership with the St. Peter Public Schools, the Area Adult Learning Cooperative, and Cambria. There are many forms of engagement through the main Language Buddies mission. To participate, students enroll in courses taught by the Spanish section of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Culture.

Pound Pals

Volunteers visit the St. Peter pound weekly to walk dogs and socialize cats awaiting adoption in order acclimate them to human companionship. Pound Pals volunteers also help organize animal awareness presentations and assist the pound with fundraisers.

Study Buddies

Study Buddies benefit St. Peter schools by providing teaching assistance as requested by teachers.

MOMENTS (Moments of Mindful Engagement Nourished Through Socialization)

MOMENTS strives to foster meaningful relationships with adults who have special psychiatric needs to promote the continued development of fundamental social skills through creative and intentional programming. 

Students' Perspectives on Service Programs

Service Program Core Values

Our approach to service is focused on the betterment of the campus, St. Peter, and surrounding communities. Our various service organizations aim to create the positive change students, staff, faculty, and the community want to see. These programs align with the core values of and institutional student learning outcomes of Gustavus. Our approach to service is based on four core values that frame and drive our programming efforts. They include:


We willfully employ our talents and assets by serving the community in a relationship demonstrating mutual respect, genuine interest, and leadership.


We strive towards the development of depth within community, volunteer, and constituent partnerships through open communication and active involvement of all relevant parties.


We recognize the complexity of communities and the ever-shifting nature of human social dynamics. Therefore, we are committed to identify changes in community needs and to develop our programs as necessary.


We keep our minds open to the acquisition of new skills, information, and life perspectives that expand our competency and fulfillment as individuals.

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