SERVICE BEHIND A SCREEN: CIVICALLY ENGAGED IN THE DIGITAL AGE
BY SHRUTI WARRIER
NJIT '20, WEB & INFORMATION SYSTEMS
My freshman year, I decided to volunteer for NJIT’s Career Fair to fulfill my honors community service requirement. As I was monitoring the attendees of our employer banquet, I was approached by the Career Service Staff member who introduced herself as the Director of Civic Engagement. We got to know each other a little, and when she heard that I was majoring in Web & Information Systems she excitedly told me about a program that Career Development Services (CDS) offers where students come in and design websites for local nonprofits. Ever since my senior year of high school, web design has been a passion of mine, so I did not waste any time to head over to their office and make an appointment with the coordinator of the Civic Engagement Computer Center (CECC). A week later I became a member of the center and started on my first website. One website became two, two became three, and so on.
Two and a half years have passed since then, and I have found myself going back every semester. The CECC has become a big part in my life. The work we do there really helps nonprofits improve their online presence and get word out about their mission. Working with nonprofits opens your eyes to new possibilities for opportunities and content design, as the sites are more personal and engaging than a large corporation.
Through the center, my networking and communication skills have improved greatly. When dealing with people who don’t have as much technical expertise, I tend to adapt the way I talk to help everyone understand the process so that we can tackle problems together, as well as help the nonprofit acquire some of the skills to maintain their site. It’s also given me a lot of working experience and material to show others who may be interested in this field. When a nonprofit recommends another organization to our services because they liked the quality and style of our work, we really feel a sense of pride! Working with the CECC is an opportunity I am extremely grateful for, and I hope to continue assisting nonprofits and the community, one website at a time.