Annual Events

The Center for Leadership and Community Engagement has a wide variety of initiatives created to better integrate students, staff, and faculty within the broader community. Below are a few of our top events and programs.

Challenge Yourself

The annual SPARC day event is designed to ignite interest and passion in the newest members of the Rollins community.

SPARC Day of Service

SPARC (Service, Passion, Action, Rollins College) is a day where all incoming first year students participate in a day of service, education, and action in the Central Florida community during fall orientation in August. SPARC is meant to ignite interest and passion in the newest members of the Rollins community, encourage them to ask tough questions about themselves, others, and the issues facing communities in the 21st century. This experience is continued through multiple academic service-learning and research projects, immersions, and reflections throughout the semester in their Rollins College Conference (RCC) first-year seminar course. SPARC should also challenge the students to engage as active participants in creating a life of citizenship, leadership, and action that starts in their first semester.

Halloween Howl

Halloween Howl is an annual event in October that brings over 1,500 members of the Central Florida community to campus for a Halloween celebration. This is a free event for families to attend, and it provides a safe space for children to dress up and celebrate Halloween as a community. Rollins students participate by hosting carnival booths and craft activities on Mills Lawn, creating haunted houses out of residential space, getting involved on the planning committee, and being general volunteers at the event.

Holiday FunFest

Holiday FunFest is an annual event in December that brings about 50 foster children from the Central Florida community to the Rollins campus during the holiday season to participate in games, crafts, and other holiday fun. This is a free event for the foster care children, families, and organizations, giving the foster parents and staff members a break for one night and gives the children a night of holiday fun. Volunteer opportunities at Holiday Funfest include: being a buddy for the day to one of the children, sponsoring gifts for a child, or running an activity table.

Hunger Banquet

Hunger Banquet is an annual event that brings awareness on campus and provides education about hunger and homelessness as a major worldwide issue faced in our communities today. The objective of the event is to simulate the reality of social injustice and unequal food distribution in the world. During this interactive dinner, each participant will have a chance to experience the social injustice that many people in the world face every day and then learn about ways they can volunteer and be active in their community.

Pathways to College

Background and Mission

Within Central Florida, resources dedicated to educating children continue to decline. Orange County Public Schools continue to face budget cuts, which most frequently impact schools in the most historically underserved communities. In addition, a troubling report recently issued by the Central Florida Regional Commission on Homelessness found that 26,000 children within our tri-county area spent part of 2014 homeless. That’s one out of every 17 kids in Central Florida, beating the national average from the U.S. Department of Education, which estimates that one out of every 30 children is homeless, as reported by the Orlando Sentinel. Orange County reported serving more than 6,700 homeless students in 2014 — the highest homeless student population in the state.

The Pathways to College Program is designed to meet the needs of underserved K-12 students in the community who may not ordinarily be exposed to the idea of higher education. Using an awareness to preparedness model, the goal of the program is to help K-12 students feel empowered and realize that attending college is an achievable goal. More specifically, the hope is to teach younger students the importance of college and to prepare older students for their future matriculation to college.


Fern Creek Mentoring Program

A long-standing community partner, Fern Creek Elementary is a Title I K-5 public school with more than 80% of its students eligible for free or reduced lunch and with approximately 24% of its student body considered homeless. Consistent mentors are a “must-have” for the school and mentors spend 30-45 minutes with mentees once a week. Besides tutoring, mentors also focus on their students’ personal growth by advising them in goal development, academic success, and personal values.

Winter Park 9th Grade Center Mentoring

            This mentoring opportunity takes place at the Winter Park 9th Grade Center, which is within walking distance from campus. Rollins students tutor 9th grade students to ease the transition from middle to high school. Tutors work with 9th graders to strengthen their learning strategies in algebra, English, social studies, and science.

Pen Pals Program

            Rollins Pen Pals is a student-led organization that pairs Rollins students, faculty, and staff with underserved youth within the local Central Florida community. Many of the young children participating in the program need a mentor to assist with reading and writing skills. Rollins Pen Pals provides a great opportunity for members of the Rollins community to serve as role models, while not requiring a substantial commitment of time

Rollins Readers

Rollins Readers is a training started by Sharon Carnahan and Diane Terorde-Doyle from the Child Development Center at Rollins. This training is intended to help people in the community learn to read a book in a way that enhances a young reader’s learning process. Rollins Readers teaches effective strategies like how to engage and teach children by asking questions about the reading. Most importantly, the ability to read a book to a child with such essential background knowledge and practice is intended to be one of the first steps of bringing a child into a life of reading. Then, readers will use this training to work with children at the Florida Hospital in Downtown Orlando.



#summerSERVE is a campus community initiative that connects students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of Rollins College to continue their engagement with the local community throughout the summer months. #summerSERVE gives everyone the opportunity to build meaningful relationships through direct service, community engagement, and education.


Center for Leadership & Community Engagement
Rollins College
Mills Memorial Building
1000 Holt Ave. – 2789
Winter Park, FL 32789
T. 407.691.1250