Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College was conceived in the hearts of religious women for whom the idea of community was and is a way of life. It is not surprising, therefore, that community is an important commitment for our institution and its employees. Even our strategic plan includes outreach to our neighbors!
There are several ways that we are accomplishing our aim to be a true partner in our area. Local boards of trustees provide opportunities for us to share our talents and to serve. SMWC employees populate these leadership roles and they include United Way, the Swope, Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce, Art Spaces, Wabash Valley Community Foundation, Wabash Valley Educational Foundation, Hospice of the Wabash Valley, Catholic Charities, the Vigo County Historical Society and more.
The College is an active partner with many community initiatives. The Pomeroy Wellness program is the result of a partnership with the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce and its Better Health Wabash Valley initiative. The initiative partners the College with the Terre Haute Children’s Museum and the Maple Center, along with the Chamber. Wabash Valley Leadership Institute is the brain-child of two graduates of the SMWC Master of Leadership Development program and was made a reality by the College. Since its beginning, it has graduated seven cohorts of local leaders who, upon completion of the program, are equipped with knowledge and momentum to positively impact the Wabash Valley. The downtown bike-sharing program is one of the tangible outcomes of a one cohort’s final project.
Service learning is an important component of the curricula of The Woods. Students volunteer throughout our community and share their talents while learning first-hand the value of volunteerism. The Woods has offered a Voluntary Income Tax-Assistance (VITA) site for many years. The accounting and business students complete a rigorous training program and pass tests making them able and eligible to assist low-income citizens with free income tax preparation. SMWC is the only VITA site in Vigo County.
This outreach to our community and neighbors continues into the future. We are currently involved with a taskforce that will connect the local trail system to our campus and beyond. We are working with our friends in West Terre Haute on various beautification and educational ideas. Even our nursing program has a focus on rural health and is committed to the smaller communities in the Wabash Valley. We have recently added a health clinic on campus to serve the College community with plans to expand access to include the local neighbors.