Center for Civic Engagement

Be the Spark 


Since its inception in 1879, Union College has been grounded by four pillars that define our focus as an academic institution: the liberal arts academic experience, our core affiliation with Methodism, our strong Appalachian culture and heritage and engaging the Union community through service to each other and our region.

The Union College Center for Civic Engagement has been established to honor our mission and our college family’s desire to serve our community. It serves as a tool for Union students to become better world citizens and to assist them in organizing opportunities for community service and social justice. Throughout their work, students develop an understanding of leadership, the process of leadership and development of leadership skills as related to serving the community while gaining an appreciation for civic engagement and community building.

The Center for Civic Engagement serves as a clearinghouse for all community service and civic engagement involving Union College, connecting community needs with Union’s resources. The mission of the Center for Civic Engagement is to engage our students, faculty, and staff in developing relationships with our community through service; addressing individual and community needs, analyzing the social and economic factors which impact these needs, inspiring sustainable growth, and establishing a framework for life-long commitment to civic engagement. 


The Center for Civic Engagement consists of five main components:


Common Partners – A scholarship program, which has served the Union community since 1999, and involves Union College students who make a commitment to serve their community about four to five hours weekly.

Bonner Leaders – A scholarship program provided in partnership with the Corrella & Bertram F. Bonner Foundation, Inc. of Princeton, New Jersey for select students who make a commitment to serve their community at least 10 hours weekly. Bonner Leaders will also have the opportunity to engage in trainings on leadership development and social justice topics, to travel to meet Bonner students from other campuses as well to enrich their service and leadership experiences.

U|SERVE – A program introduced in 2015 to support and encourage community service among faculty and staff, as well as students who may not be able to commit ongoing time to service yet have a desire to be involved.  This program allows teams, clubs or other groups or individuals to provide civic service, as many students describe it, “just because”. With U|SERVE, individuals or groups may help select the service project and locations as well as the date, etc.

Service Learning – A program designed to provide partnerships and support mechanisms to encourage credit-based service for students in cooperation with Union’s faculty who choose to use service learning as pedagogy.  Students may also work with faculty to develop independent learning opportunities in a Service Learning course for academic credit.

Community-Based Learning and Research –A program component for future development (coming 2016-2017) which supports the connection of Union’s impressive academic resources with community interests in ways that will work to address the needs of the community. Faculty will guide students as they develop knowledge by creating research projects with and for the community to address a need or answer a question that is generated by the community.


Applications for any of the Center for Civic Engagement Scholarship Programs are available from our office, located at 100 Judge Street near the Lakeside Center of campus or by downloading Common Partners or Bonner Leaders applications.

Applications must be returned to Jodi Carroll, Director of the Center for Civic Engagement. Please e-mail or call 606.546.1278. 


The Center for Civic Engagement will kindle your passions so that you can find the spark to get involved, inspire others and blaze your path in the world.