These are proven ways to generate positive impacts, including by connecting with ourselves, others, schoolwork, and nature. This page outlines what such projects entail. Sections contain links to separate pages with more details about each area.
Click to jump to any of these sections about community engagement projects
- Resources We Offer
- Picking a Starting Point
- More Information (terms, benefits, roles, best practices, landscape, goals)
Community Engagement Project Resources We Offer
|Here/this page||To describe the "big picture" of what CE projects can do and look like|
|CE project area-specific pages with links here||To teach about CE project characteristics in greater depth|
|The Spring 2021 page||To explain what we're offering schools and others interested in CE projects right now|
|Google Drive guides (screenshots, request one)||To support high-quality project completion, from initial preparation to impact extension|
How we recommend using them
Learn about project possibilities here, then talk to a potential advisor you know or fill out a Getting Started form so we can help more.
Community Engagement Project Approaches
Blending academics and community engagement
- Incorporating CE elements (concepts and at least some experience) into an academic project lasting 2 or more weeks
- Incorporating academics (e.g., a written reflection) into a required or voluntary community service experience of any length
Relating to other community engagement projects
Community Engagement Project Components/Steps
Smaller projects may not include all of these. See more detailed descriptions here.
|Component||Reason to Include It|
|Investigation/topic selection||To identify an important issue with personal meaning|
|Planning/preparation||To design an experience to meet specific outcome goals|
|Community action||To engage with a community or group (e.g., on site)|
|Demonstration||To apply knowledge and skills (e.g., with a presentation or by making other products)|
|Evaluation||To grade products or other academic work|
|Celebration and impact extension||To maximize positive outcomes and promote more civic and community engagement|
|Reflection and assessment||To maximize learning from events and the whole process|
Community Engagement Project Examples
Here are a few of the many options for topics, activities, and products. Our Drive guides include an extensive list of multi-media and other product options complimenting different academic focus areas. For an expanded list see here.
|Community hunger||Lunch packing over school vacation||Map of local nutrition and food resources|
|Emotional health||Lesson for younger students: responding to adversity||PSA for school announcements|
|Justice||Participate in drug sentencing reform campaign||Letter to the editor about recognizing prejudices|
|Literacy||Holding a fundraiser for a group; reading to others||ABC picture book with differently abled models (classmates)|
|Physical activity||Help clean up and construct local exercise trails||Essay about project impacts on the learner and community|
Picking a Starting Point
To create or join a project, starting with an area of personal interest or meaning to the learner promotes engagement. Then comes adding research topics, engagement experiences, and products. We can do or advise on that. See expanded lists here.
Possible areas of interest to build around
|Activity||Building, planting, cleaning up, advocating, or fundraising|
|Group of people||Children, adolescents, advanced age, veterans, or immigrants|
|Topic||Climate, education, farming, justice, or poverty|
More Information about Community Engagement Projects
|Civic engagement||Addressing issues of public concern, along with developing knowledge and skills to do that effectively|
|Extended learning opportunities||(a.k.a. ELOs) Learning outside a traditional classroom, possibly focusing on or including community engagement|
|Problem-focused project||Working with community members to address an issue, typically over multiple semesters or years|
|Service-learning||Blending education and community service in order to meet both academic objectives and societal needs|
|Volunteering||Supporting an initiative or group for its own sake|
Who benefits and how
While many are possible, results vary, including with project duration, community partner relationship quality, activities, and use of best practices. See expanded lists here.
|Person or Group||Example Benefit(s)|
|Learners||Increased sense of self-efficacy and community connection|
|Educators||Opportunities to facilitate personally meaningful experiences|
|Schools||Increased academic interest/engagement|
|Communities||Increased volunteer participation in common good initiatives|
Participant roles and challenges
These tend to vary with grade level and project scope. See expanded lists here.
|Participant||Example Roles||Example Challenges|
|Learners||Picking a topic, reflection, making products, assessment||Collaborating, communicating effectively, being leaders|
|Educators/ advisors||Selecting goals/objectives, assessment, evaluation||Balancing providing guidance and allowing student autonomy|
|Local non-profits (when applicable)||Sharing need priorities, assessment||Providing experiences that can meet academic needs|
Using these promotes project quality and positive outcomes for all. Our Drive-based guides include a checklist for project assessment. See an expanded list here.
|Example Best Practice||Project Area|
|Project collaborators learn and view one another as equal colleagues in the process (vs. treating a group as needy)||Communication/ partnership|
|Learners discuss with advisor(s) and community reps any possible deviations from the plan in advance, as well as record them||Action|
|Involves problem solving, critical thinking, analysis, applying concepts, putting experiences in greater context, or theorizing||Reflection|
|All involved in the project have opportunities to provide feedback||Assessment|
The current community engagement landscape
There’s a lot going on and ideally a place for all of us to add to it. See expanded lists here.
|WHO (people and groups engaging)||Non-profits, governmental agencies, churches, students, professionals, funders, school consortiums|
|WHAT (types of work being one)||Living assistance, professional services, education, health promotion, democratic participation|
|WHY (motivations for engaging)||To connect with others or nature, express ourselves, apply and build skills and knowledge, pay it forward|
Project goal examples
These can be used along with or replaced by learning results to guide the process. See expanded lists here.
|Apply course concepts/material to understand or address a community need or issue||Academic/learning content|
|Work independently and with others, including by identifying, articulating, and resolving issues in academic and work settings||Career preparedness|
|Demonstrate ethical behavior in personal, academic, professional, and civic activities||Civic learning/ development|
|Demonstrate integrity and responsibility for yourself, life outcomes, and impacts on others||Personal development|