Civitas Initiative Launches ‘Pay It Forward’

Jocelyn Buggy ‘22 

News Editor

On Friday, October 2nd, students received an e-mail from Civitas Student Engagement about the launch of a new program called “Pay It Forward: Mentoring for Civic Engagement.”  Pay It Forward is part of the Civitas Initiative, which was designed to help students identify active learning experiences and opportunities for reflection, conversation, and engagement surrounding issues of social justice.  Pay It Forward is one of the many new opportunities being rolled out through Civitas, the others of which include the Civitas Leadership Institute and Virtual Volunteering with Worcester community partners.

 According to the aforementioned e-mail from Civitas Student Engagement, Pay It Forward is meant to be an informal space where students can coordinate intentional time with one another to discuss how to live out civic engagement and become more involved in their communities.  The Civitas website states that civic engagement “calls us to reflect upon our role as citizens, the shared responsibility involved with living in a democracy, our common purpose, and community building.  Civic engagement occurs through service that meets community-identified needs or through research, advocacy, and experience that holds promise of social or scientific value to the community.” 

Michella Rosa Martins, Director of the Office of Multicultural Education and Civitas one of the Civitas Planning Committee members that is spearheading Pay It Forward, spoke to The Spire about what inspired this program.  She said: “The Pay It Forward program was inspired by students sharing their desire to connect with other students regarding civic engagement and community engagement.  It is an important and unique part of the Civitas initiative as it provides an informal student-led mentoring opportunity based on student availability and interest.  The goal of this program is to increase peer to peer connection. Although it is not a goal to lessen the distance [from campus], I think the program will make students feel more connected to Worcester or at least teach them about new opportunities.”

Graphic by Kate Nedorostek ‘23. Photos courtesy of Chaplains’ Office.

Pay It Forward is open for both mentor and mentee participants to register.  The student leaders must have previous experience with Holy Cross civic engagement programs such as community-based learning, SPUD, community organizing, immersion trips, community service work-study, peer mentorship, and more.  Pay It Forward participants will be matched with mentors who reflect similar interests or experiences that they indicate on a Google Form.  If interested, the opportunity is available for participants to be matched with more than one student leader depending on their interests.  In order to register, students can access the interest form linked in the Civitas Student Engagement e-mail from October 2nd.  This Google Form asks students to indicate personal information such as their name, class year, and various civic engagement involvements and/or particular interests.  The form also asks students to indicate whether they would like to participate in Pay It Forward as a student leader or a mentee.  After providing this information, students can expect a Civitas team member to reach out in order to connect them with their mentor or mentee.

Students are encouraged to e-mail Emily Rauer Davis ( or Michelle Rosa Martins ( with any questions about how to get involved with the Pay It Forward program.  Additionally, those interested in the Civitas initiative as a whole can visit or e-mail for more information. 

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