AmeriCorps VISTA, or Volunteers in Service to America, is a national service program that was created more than 40 years ago through the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to fight poverty. It has become known colloquially as the domestic version of the Peace Corps. AmeriCorps VISTAs commit to a year of full-time, indirect service in a nonprofit agency or local government agency.
In 2003, New York Campus Compact (NYCC) partnered with CNCS to work with institutions of higher education in areas of community engagement and service learning. NYCC VISTAs work with faculty, staff, students, and community members to address community defined needs, acting to improve the collaborations between the campus and the wider community. The Shaw Center has hosted four VISTAs in recent years: Patrick Marcil, 2006-2007; Colleen McAllister, 2007-2009; Laura Notarangelo, 2009-2010; and Amanda Stessen, 2010-2011.