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UM News
February 11, 2013


Eight Montana Campus Compact AmeriCorps VISTA members raised their right hands to take the oath of service before Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh on Jan. 24 at the State Capitol Building in Helena. The new national-service members will work to fight poverty in communities around Montana in the coming year.

The volunteers work with campus partners to further community-driven, anti-poverty efforts in the areas of education, veterans/military-family support, economic opportunity and healthy futures. Some of this year’s projects include creating local college-access networks, developing programming for K-12 success and retention, leveraging volunteers and funding for local nonprofits and evolving education programs for people who are incarcerated.

“MTCC AmeriCorps VISTA members commit a year of their lives to leveraging resources of higher education – student volunteers – to meet critical community needs,” said MTCC VISTA Program Manager Brian Christianson. “When this works, mutually beneficial, long-term partnerships develop between community organizations and higher education institutions, providing college students exciting civic engagement opportunities while addressing the most pressing issues facing their communities.”

In the past year, MTCC VISTA members generated $367,166 in cash and in-kind donations for projects addressing poverty problems in Montana. They also recruited more than 5,000 volunteers who contributed 33,800 hours of service.

The January 2013 class of MTCC VISTA members and their service sites include:

  • Kate Ferrara, The University of Montana, Missoula;
  • Roch Turner, Bitterroot College of UM, Hamilton;
  • Hannah Still, UM and Potomac Schools, Potomac;
  • Kristen Hollum, Montana State University-Billings and the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation, Red Lodge;
  • Alexander Ruiz, Montana Tech of UM, Butte;
  • Jakub Weglarcyzk, Montana Tech of UM, Anaconda;
  • Morgan Bennett, Montana State University and Gallatin County Detention Center, Bozeman;
  • Adrienne Bombelles, MSU and Greater Gallatin United Way, Bozeman.

MTCC VISTA is an AmeriCorps*VISTA program of the Montana Campus Compact made possible through funding provided by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

MTCC is Montana’s largest higher-education network and works to improve community life by educating students for civic and social responsibility. MTCC member campuses include:  Aaniiih Nakoda College, Blackfeet Community College, Carroll College, Dawson Community College, Flathead Valley Community College, Fort Peck Community College, Little Big Horn College, Montana State University-Billings, Montana State University-Bozeman, Montana State University-Great Falls, Montana State University-Northern, Montana Tech of UM, Rocky Mountain College, Salish Kootenai College, UM, UM-Helena, UM Western, University of Great Falls.  MTCC also works with campuses in neighboring regional states. 



State, hometowns


Contact: Amanda Opitz, AmeriCorps VISTA leader, Montana Campus Compact at UM, 406-243-5451,