Civic Engagement

Scholars Tyler Hall and Grace Schulz learn about tree planting from community partner, Boston Natural Areas Network.

University Scholars are committed to the common good and their communities.

To promote discussion of civic engagement in the context of pressing societal issues, the University Scholars and the Civic Engagement Program brought four distinguished outside speakers to campus as part of the Scholars Seminar on Leadership, Research, and Innovation in 2015. Students heard from transgender actress and advocate Laverne Cox, journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates, immigration activist and filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas, and bestselling author and climate-change expert Naomi Klein. This series continues to be held annually.

Each year, University Scholars are expected to dedicate 100 hours to civic engagement activity. This experience is designed to help Scholars understand how they can best put their talents to use. We offer two terrific opportunities through which Scholars can fulfill their service obligations: direct service and participation in a Community-based Research Project. Since Scholars come to us with wonderful community connections and service projects underway, many Scholars choose to do direct service with community partners.

For those interested in taking on new service challenges, we also offer Scholars the opportunity to work in interdisciplinary teams on self-directed community-based research projects that are carried out over the course of the year. The Bridge-Builder Award for Community Engagement offers Scholars the opportunity to work in interdisciplinary teams on self-directed, yearlong research projects that are carried out in close collaboration with a community partner. Each project consists of archival research, interviews, fieldwork, consultation with faculty experts, skill building, data interpretation, and the presentation of results to community partners and the University community.