The Civic Engagement program at Cornell facilitates service and leadership opportunities for students at Cornell. A student working with the center 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, we are dedicated to helping them explore, build their skills, gain experiences, and create direction for a lifetime of active citizenship. Inspired by this mission, reflecting the values of the college, and positioned at the forefront of thematic trends in higher education, we have developed into a vibrant and growing component of the experience at Cornell.

Our Programs

The Civic Engagement program at Cornell supports a number of ongoing volunteer and community projects to promote social responsibility.  This allows you to "act on your issue" or support those different social issues that you are passionate about.  You may find those opportunities here on our webpage.  We are also able to connect students, faculty, and staff to other service opportunities based on specified interests; please contact our office to begin your involvement and start making a positive impact!

Social Justice Initiative

The Social Justice Initiative is a coalition between student leaders and the Cornell College Civic Engagement Center. Student leaders collaborate with local organizations to raise awareness, educate, and provide social justice opportunities for Cornell students

Sustained Dialogue

Sustained Dialogue (SD) is a student organization that encompass students, faculty, and staff at Cornell College. There are weekly discussion groups for one hour with 8-15 participants and two co-moderators that generate collective action to improve strained relationships on-campus.  SD discussion groups foster a community where participants can openly share experiences, meaningfully discuss sensitive topics, learn from each other, address divisive issues, and implement change on campus.  

Iowa College AmeriCorps Program

Iowa Campus Compact AmeriCorps Program (ICAP) engages students in long-term volunteerism within the Cornell community.  During the year of service, participants will commit to completing at least 300 hours of community service at local nonprofits of their choice and receive an Education Award upon completing the program.  Learn more

Mentoring and Tutoring

Cornell Success Lab and Backpack Books connect Cornell students with students from the Mount Vernon Middle School (grades 5-8). Backpacks gives students the opportunity to serve as reading buddies for underprivileged youth in our area.  Both programs provide Cornell students an opportunity to be good role models and make a positive impact in the lives of a younger students.

Elementary School Lunch Buddies

Lunch Buddies connects Cornell students with 3rd and 4th graders from Mount Vernon's Washington Elementary School. Cornell students join their buddies for lunch and recess two to three times a month and participate in various programs off campus. Learn more

Colleges Against Cancer (Relay For Life)

Cornell's chapter of the nationwide group Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) organizes students, faculty, staff, and the wider community to help raise awareness and funds for cancer issues in association with the American Cancer Society. This includes organizing Relay For Life, as well as other events.  Learn more.

Alternative Spring Break

Each year a group of Cornell students and staff spend spring break completing service projects in various locations across the nation.  Learn more.

Alternative Winter Break & Block Break Service Trips

In addition to our Alternative Spring Break Program, the Civic Engagement program has led service trips over winter break and block breaks. This is a great way for students to get off of campus, meet new people, and participate in a Service Trip.  Most recently students traveled to Xela, Guatemala to serve at an orphanage, center for people with disabilities, and tutor English with Sisai Spanish school.