Civic Engagement and Democracy

Use your time at Ithaca College to pursue an intentional and purposeful process for building your skills as an engaged citizen.

While completing your degree at Ithaca College, we encourage you to focus on developing your skills in five main areas:

  • Civic Skills: Voting and participating in a civil society
  • Civic Leadership: Leading where you live
  • Community Service: Making positive contributions to society
  • Community-Based Student Employment: Working where you matter
  • Community-Based Experiential Learning: Deepening your understanding

Building Blocks to Becoming an Engaged Citizen

Familiarize yourself with how to vote and become involved in the democratic process.

Civic leadership is a vital part of becoming an engaged citizen. By combining your passion and leadership skills, you can discover opportunities that will prepare you for your future beyond IC.

Examples of civic skills and leadership include:

  • Voting or participating in governing activities
  • On campus organized activities to further develop your leadership skills
  • Civic engagement internships or study abroad
  • Undergraduate research

Community service are activities that you are involved in or actions that you take on a voluntary basis to benefit your community. It can take many different forms, and can be a short, one-time activity or more sustained dedication of time to a particular organization or cause. Community service and passion can be intertwined to create unique learning experiences while contributing to your local, national, and international communities. Examples of community service include contributing time toward:

  • Collecting or distributing food.
  • Planting or maintaining a community garden.
  • Participating in a cleanup.
  • Collecting and providing clothing or other goods to people in need.
  • Donating blood.
  • Facilitating a recycling program.
  • Reading to children, mentoring, or tutoring.
  • And so much more!

Civic-focused student employment occurs in the community and is supported by federal work study dollars. It can help deepen your connection to the community, while preparing you in your career pursuits and academic discipline(s). It is an opportunity to forge a significant connection with a particular organization and/or local project. You will learn more about community issues while continuing to develop your professional skills. Examples of such student employment includes: 

  • Federal work study programs in the local community
  • Working off campus with a social services unit or organization

Ithaca College Student Employment provides students the opportunity to put their academic experiences into practice in a professional setting that reflects the post-graduate workplace. Student Employment jobs offer experiential learning initiatives, and a range of transferable skills, as well as a competitive recruitment and retention process that models the professional environment. Student Employment assists matriculated students in attaining campus employment, and additionally assists eligible Federal Work Study students in securing off-campus work opportunities through the Off Campus Community Service Program.

Consistent with our commitment to theory, practice, and performance, many disciplines at Ithaca College offer credit-bearing educational experiences where you may participate in an organized activity that meaningfully addresses community-identified needs. It is common for these courses to require you to critically reflect on your experiences to further understand course content, more broadly appreciate the academic discipline, and significantly enhance your sense of civic responsibility.

While the student learning outcomes can vary from course-to-course, typically these experiences enable students to: 

  • Integrate their learning, by connecting academic knowledge, theory, and skills to the experiential learning context

  • Practice problem solving skills, by identifying challenges and opportunities that arise in the experiential learning environment, and respond constructively to them

  • Develop communication skills, including written, verbal, and non-verbal competencies to effectively communicate with diverse audiences

  • Enhance professionalism, by understanding their roles and responsibilities within the experiential learning context, and act appropriately

Reach out to your School dean's office or your department chair for more information on credit-bearing coursework that may be available in your School, major, or minor.

Potential Community Partner?

Are you a community-based organization who would like to partner with the Ithaca College Center for Civic Engagement? If so, please contact us today!