All About Community

Graduating amidst a pandemic and much unrest in the country, Zachary Allen ’20 knew he wanted to do something to make a difference. He chose to join the AmeriCorps NCCC so he could take advantage of a unique opportunity to serve communities in need. Once accepted into the program, Allen chose to serve in the FEMA Corps so he could learn more about the federal response to emergencies and natural disasters and to give back to others as needed.

Allen began serving his 12-month program in March of this year. Over the course of the program, he will be sent to several different deployments to work with FEMA and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and nonprofits to aid in their prevention, mitigation, response and recovery efforts related to emergencies and natural disasters. This work will include assisting with vaccination efforts against COVID-19 and responding to hurricanes, tornadoes and other events.

During his time at Colby-Sawyer, Allen double majored in English and history and political studies and minored in film studies. He knew from the moment he stepped on campus that he felt at home in this community. Allen said, “I knew I would be supported inside and outside the classroom, and that was important to me.”

While at CSC, Allen enjoyed the tight-knit campus and small class sizes. He believes that these two factors helped him find his niche and make the most of his time at the college.

As Allen takes on this new responsibility, he looks forward to helping survivors of natural disasters. He said, “A service year has always been something I wanted to do, whether it was the Peace Corps or another AmericCorps program. I am drawn to the sense of adventure and service that these programs offer.”

Allen knows he will miss his family and friends most while he is away. “The events of the past year have made me appreciate my loved ones more than ever, and I’m doing all I can to stay connected to them during my time away,” he said. He has brought photographs of all his friends and family to place around his different lodging sites.

Allen said, “I hope to learn more about the emergency management field and to grow personally from the challenges of a year in service.”