History of the SERVE Office

Students and Tires

In 1987 Johnson State College received a three-year grant to start the Volunteer Service Learning Program (VSLP). The program initially was structured like a volunteer center, recruiting and placing volunteers in the local community.

Since then, what would become Serve has experienced many changes and enjoyed countless highlights. Here is an overview of our history:


The program is restructured with program/issue areas such as Little Friends (mentoring), FRIENDS (students matched with adults with mental and physical challenges), Break Away (the alternative break program), and SERVE Corps. All programs are led by student leaders, who changed the name from the VSLP to SERVE (Students Enriching and Responding through Volunteer Efforts).


JSC is invited to be a founding chapter school of Break Away.


  • JSC academic dean Dr. Vincent Crockenberg spearheads a team attending a Campus Compact forum on Integrating Service with Academic Study. Numerous JSC faculty have since integrated service learning into coursework. 
  • JSC is named the national Alternative Break Program of the Year, the highest honor bestowed to a campus chapter by Break Away. JSC is singled out as exemplary in a year in which over 12,000 participants from 350 colleges and universities participated in alternative breaks.


The name is changed from SERVE to the Center for Service Learning (CSL), building on the success of the volunteer program, promoting student leadership development, integrating service learning into the curriculum, and fostering partnerships with community agencies.


  • JSC signs on to house the Volunteer Center of Lamoille Valley for two years.
  • JSC joins 22 other Vermont college presidents to form a statewide Vermont Campus Compact. This statewide coalition of college and university presidents aims to promote the integration of public service into the academic, student life and civic goals of member institutions.



JSC hosts Nonprofit Summits: one-day events with local agencies aimed at creating a shared vision of higher education and community working together toward long-term reform and community renewal.


The CSL partners with the JSC Department of Business/Economics to offer a nonprofit management certification program.


JSC partners with Clear Path International and commits to three years of Break Away trips to Vietnam.


      • JSC becomes a sustaining partner to the Lamoille Valley Mentoring Partnership.
  • The CSL partners with Upward Bound, supporting the organization's first Break Away trip to Boston to work with Community Action and the Greater Boston Food Bank.
  • JSC awards Vermont Campus Compact sub-grants to six faculty to become Service Learning Ambassadors.
  • The CSL partners with the Advising & Career Center and launches Socially Responsible Careers.
  • The JSC Advising & Career Center launches JSC Connections, an online listing of jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities locally, statewide and beyond. By 2006, Connections links all Vermont State Colleges.



  • Since 1990, JSC Break Away trips have supported 783 participants on 77 trips.
  • JSC is invited to join the Bonner Foundation.


SERVE Fri, a weekly, local community service trip begins.

Did You Know

In the beginning


JSC was founded in 1828 as Johnson Academy.  

Arthur Hall