By the Numbers
Civic Engagement work study positions: 7
Lunch Buddies: 102
Middle School Mentors: 20
Cornell Relay for Life participants: 300
Relay for Life committee members: 30
Iowa College AmeriCorps program members: 6
Alternative Spring Break participants: 95
Community Service ConnectFloor residents: 22
New Student Orientation service day participants: 325
Students Together Eradicating Poverty: 10
Servapalooza attendees: 200
Civic Engagement newsletter circulation: 421
Facebook followers: 282
About the Civic Engagement Office
Preparing students for a lifetime of service and leadership
The Civic Engagement Office (CEO) facilitates hundreds of service and leadership opportunities for students across Cornell. A student working with the CEO might chair a planning committee for Cornell’s nationally-recognized Relay for Life, complete an intense week of service at sites across the country through an Alternative Spring Break trip, or connect with one of many local volunteer opportunities in the greater Cornell community.
No matter how students become involved, the CEO is dedicated to helping them follow their passions, build their skills, and prepare for a lifetime of service and leadership. Inspired by this mission, reflecting the values of the college, and positioned at the forefront of thematic trends in higher education, the CEO has developed into a vibrant and growing component of the co-curricular experience of Cornell.
Connecting students with national and local service opportunities
The service opportunities facilitated by the CEO range from national service initiatives to local projects within walking distance of campus. Cornell is a gateway for students to connect with the AmeriCorps national service program, offering 300-hour part-time AmeriCorps positions for students looking to make a significant commitment to community service. Each year, Cornell hosts a nationally-recognized Relay for Life which has consistently ranked in the top five in per-capita fundraising among collegiate relays. In the greater Cornell community, students benefit from the office’s connections to nonprofit organizations in Cedar Rapids and elsewhere, completing volunteer projects or internships with emergency shelters, urban gardens, food reservoirs, and many other service organizations.
Even closer to campus, Cornellians serve as Lunch Buddies and Middle School Mentors in the Mount Vernon schools and work on local festivals and events with the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group. Whether it is through involvement in one of the office’s core service programs, connecting with a national service organization, or pursuing their own unique service passion, the CEO gives students the tools to strengthen their local community while opening them to a breadth of experience far beyond the Hilltop.
Reflecting Cornell’s core values
The values of Cornell College are the foundation for the CEO’s work. Students involved with CEO programs and service activities apply their knowledge and critical thinking skills in a wide array of contexts outside of the classroom. Through service, students have many unique opportunities for intellectual, moral, and personal growth. Service is also a chance for students to refine their sense of civic and social responsibility. And finally, the programs and service facilitated by the CEO actively advocate and champion the dignity and worth of individuals in our diverse community.
Equipping students with real-world leadership skills
The CEO strives to make service opportunities rich experiences by integrating education and reflection into its programming. Further, the work-study students and student leaders that oversee the day-to-day operations of many of the office’s programs receive significant managerial and leadership training. Based around 14 competencies developed by the office, students develop their skills in areas like problem solving, communications, team development, and time management. These servant leaders in turn provide mentorship and leadership for Cornell’s service activities across campus.
Leading edge of higher education practices
By integrating higher education and service activities, the CEO is at the forefront of a national trend. As the National Task Force for Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement, a committee of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, stated in its 2012 report “A Crucible Moment: College Learning & Democracy’s Future,” “Campuses can be critical sites for honing students’ civic knowledge, skills, values, and actions, and for preparing them for lives of public purpose as well as employment.”
The CEO is well positioned to contribute to this effort. The CEO’s professional staff and student representatives from its programs sit on the Civic Engagement Committee, and the office’s connections with local nonprofit organizations make it a resource for faculty seeking to add a service component to their coursework. The approval of the Civic Engagement Minor also holds the promise of further connecting civic engagement to the classroom. By increasing its capacity and working to develop a culture of service across campus, the CEO is laying the groundwork for community engagement both inside and outside the classroom.