Community engagement (also referred to as civic engagement or service learning) is the mindful, active involvement in your local community. While civic engagement focuses specifically on one’s responsibilities as a citizen, community engagement is focused more on one’s responsibilities as a community member. Within the college experience, engagement is particularly important for the student body. Volunteering and taking part in the local community can foster formative relationships between students and individuals in the community. It can also be a great way to give back and give thanks to the surrounding community. Below are a few creative ideas about how your university can incorporate community engagement as a regular practice amongst the student body and beyond.
- Meet with local organizations and nonprofits that align with your university’s values and talk about ways your university can support their organization
Great examples of this support could be regular, publicized volunteer or internship opportunities
- Assess the needs of your own campus community. Are there any communities who are underserved? How can you better serve these parts of your own campus community?
Ex: If there are students who are experiencing food insecurity, organize a community garden or food pantry that is free and accessible
- Explore what steps are needed to set up an infrastructure for service learning trips and experiences
Many universities have alternate spring break programs, but these service trips do not have to be limited to spring break. These student-run programs could also design local mini-trips that dive into the important history of issues the volunteer work is addressing