The Center for Civic Engagement offers a range of academic and co-curricular programs that promote civic participation and engaged learning throughout the Northwestern community. Programs are often run in collaboration with other schools, departments, and offices, serving diverse populations across campus.
Programs like NU Votes and NU in Chicago reach broad swaths of the campus population, elevating the idea that civic responsibility and engaged learning are valued, common elements of the Northwestern experience.
Undergraduates need a variety of on-ramps for civic engagement, as well as graduated opportunities to develop their civic knowledge and skills and to practice their disciplines in real-world settings. Incoming students, for example, might first participate in NU in Chicago (a half-day opportunity), and then decide to serve local preschools with Jumpstart (a co-curricular initiative) before advancing to Engage Chicago’s comprehensive approach to community-based learning (a credit-bearing summer program). There are many pathways to civic engagement – both through the Center and through schools, departments, and organizations across campus – and Center staff and fellows are always available to help students consider which opportunities to explore and how to design their own unique path.
Connect with young people in the juvenile detention center through arts and music
Mentor middle school students in mental health
Lay the academic foundation for a future in social change work
Spend a summer exploring community development and social change
Promote literacy and social emotional learning at local preschools
For Graduate Students
Many graduate students come to Northwestern to develop their academic interests as a means for positive social impact. The Center partners with The Graduate School and other schools and departments across campus to support PhD and Masters students as they explore the intersection between scholarship and public purpose. The Center also aims to help students develop a civic identity, in ways that help them build community, create full lives, and develop the professional skills and experiences necessary for impactful leadership.
For Recent Grads & Alumni
Northwestern is just the beginning. Alumni go on to pursue global engagement opportunities, build award-winning nonprofits, run for public office, and much more. The Center’s NU Public Interest Program gives a cohort of young alumni a platform to explore nonprofit and public-facing careers, and to gain the experience that can help them navigate the next phase of their post-college lives.
Services, Resources, and Special Events
The Center also offers a wide array of services, resources, and special events to promote civic engagement at Northwestern. Visit our Services page to learn more.