Frequently Asked Questions


What is civic engagement?

Civic Engagement refers to the many ways in which individuals and groups are involved and make a difference in the public realm. This may include: voluntary service; political participation; donation of goods, funds, and services on behalf of others; involvement in community issues; public expression of opinions and information through letters, on-line, in person; and many other forms of action. Often, these types of engagement result in direct gains to a community, some of its members, or the public at large.

In practice here at Binghamton University, many students, faculty and staff members make significant civic contributions. The Center for Civic Engagement at BU has on-line and in-person support to help individuals and groups identify organizations, activities, and projects with which they can become involved. This is one very important way in which the relationship between BU and our community is positively facilitated. TOP


How does civic engagement benefit students?

Students who are civically engaged are able to take advantage of networking opportunities and acquire special skills that will help them attain a job and succeed in their desired career. Service activities are also a great way to try out a few different career areas if you are not sure yet what you would like to pursue. Additionally, volunteerism is a great way to make new friends, become more familiar with the Binghamton community, and have some fun! Most importantly, providing benefit to others brings with it a terrific sense of satisfaction and leads to greater self–discovery and personal growth. TOP


How does civic engagement benefit the community?

The capacity of local organizations is strengthened significantly through the help of BU students, staff and faculty. Community partners that have worked with the Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) find that the work done by students is important in expanding their ability to fulfill their missions. Whether it is receiving assistance in holding a one-time fundraiser, or through several long-term student interns, several organizations in the area rely on the high-quality help that BU students, staff and faculty deliver. In turn, the University has the ability to make invaluable connections with the community that supports it. For example, School of Management students work with local nonprofits and businesses to develop strategic business and marketing plans that greatly benefit them.

CCE also co-sponsored a festival led by student groups to help raise money for the construction of a memorial park in remembrance of those lost in the American Civic Association shooting in 2009. With the help of CCE, students had a chance to volunteer their time and effort while lending a helping hand to the local community. TOP


What is community-based learning?

If given a choice, many people prefer to learn in settings where they can apply the content or skills they are trying to acquire. Hence community-based learning opportunities, such as internships, are very popular. This is one type of experiential education that takes place in settings outside of the classroom. The learning experiences are often tied to particular classes or academic departments, but not necessarily. Community-based learning also frequently includes some form of service that directly benefits the community and/or its members. TOP


 What is the purpose of the CCE?

CCE serves as the centralized hub at Binghamton University for coordinating community engagement and academic service learning. CCE works with communities within and beyond Binghamton University's campus to provide various rewarding and meaningful opportunities to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members.

CCE supports the attainment of academic, personal, and professional growth through civic engagement to develop active and engaged citizens. TOP


 How can I get/stay involved with the CCE? How do I find out about opportunities for volunteering?

The best way to start participating is to sign up for the weekly e-newsletter, Campus and Community Connections, that lists many opportunities to volunteer, work on projects, internships, conferences, and related scholarships and awards. If a specific interest in not found in the newsletter, explore the searchable service listings database on the CCE website. You can search by keywords, fields of interest, bus access, as well as many other categories.

One of the easiest ways to get involved is to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. TOP


 How can I subscribe to or unsubscribe from the CCE e-newsletter?

You can subscribe to the CCE e-newsletter through the Campus and Community Connections webpage. You may unsubscribe at any time by clicking the "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of every e-newsletter. TOP


 I am not sure how to start looking for a volunteer activity. Can you help me?

Just send an email to with available times that you can meet with Christie Zwahlen, Assistant Director. The meeting times can be flexible and can be worked around your schedule. If you come into the office prepared to discuss your interests and time commitments, it will be simpler to find a program/activity that is suitable for you. TOP


How can I find opportunities that match my specific interests?

If you are looking for something specific that you do not see in the e-newsletter, explore the searchable service listings database on the Center for Civic Engagement website. You can search by keywords, fields of interest, paid/unpaid as well as many other categories. As always, you are also welcome to stop by the CCE office to find out more. TOP


 Can I get a record of my service at Binghamton University?

The Center for Civic Engagement is currently unable to verify service provided to other organizations. However, you can contact the person who was your site supervisor and ask them for a letter attesting to the time that you spent completing your service and the nature of your work.

Binghamton University offers a useful web-based documentation service, B-Engaged, that generates a co-curricular transcript for your records. Find out how to generate your involvement transcript on the B-Engaged website. TOP


 Can I receive academic credit for an internship?

The CCE currently offers two CDCI internship opportunities: Social Media and Marketing Intern and Engagement Program Management Intern. Learn more about currently available for-credit internships on the CCE Opportunities webpage. You can also contact the Binghamton University Center for Career and Professional Development or the relevant academic department through which you would like to receive credit. TOP


 How can my group partner with the CCE to set up a community service event?

CCE will be glad to help you plan for and promote community service events. Send an email to if you have specific ideas about what you are interested in or you can set up an appointment with a staff person to discuss possible ideas. TOP


How do I submit my group's event to the CCE e-newsletter?

CCE is always happy to publicize student-led events that benefit others through the CCE weekly e-newsletter called Campus and Community Connections. Just email with a brief description with important information regarding your event such as description, date, time, and the location of your event, and the staff will get back to you about posting the information. TOP


As a community organization, how do I recruit students to work with us or student groups to partner with us?

You are encouraged to contact us and discuss your particular needs. The searchable service listings database on the CCE website lists projects organized by community organizations, students and faculty too. You can enter the relevant information on behalf of your organization directly to the service listings, which then is available for students, staff and faculty to search. Once it is entered, it will also be highlighted in the e-newsletter. If you would like to promote events that are one-time and for which volunteers/interns are not needed, you can simply submit a brief description to appear in the e-newsletter. TOP


I am trying to find a non-credit service program abroad. How can the Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) help me?

Send an email to and make an appointment with Christie Zwahlen, the Assistant Director. Before you come to the appointment, it would be a good idea to start thinking about the following questions, so that your particular interests can be addressed:

  • Are there any specific countries/areas of the world that you are interested in traveling to?
  • Do you speak any foreign languages or have an interest in exposure to any particular language?
  • What is the approximate range of your budget?
  • What types of activities/service opportunities are of greatest interest to you? TOP

How do I find out more about BU sponsored Alternative Break programs?

The Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) regularly offers organized group service projects during Spring Break. If you are interested in finding out more, send an email to, and regularly review Campus and Community Connections, the CCE e-newsletter for information regarding upcoming Alternative Break programs. TOP


What is the Bridging the Digital Divide Project (BDDP)?

The Digital Divide can be defined as the disparities in access to and facility with information technology that exist based on demographic factors such as race, ethnicity, income, education and gender. According to local nonprofit organizations that partner with the Center for Civic Engagement (CCE), those most greatly affected by this are at-risk youth, senior citizens, immigrants and refugees, those recently released from jail, and the unemployed and under-employed. Not having regular access to computers and the internet puts individuals at a distinct disadvantage socially, in preparation for employment, job seeking, completing homework, and searching for educational opportunities.

BDDP is a collaboration between Binghamton University, Broome Community College, and ten community partners with the goal of increasing information technology access to the target groups listed above. BCC students from a service-learning computer technology course, a campus club, and other volunteers refurbish the computers to be provided to these local populations. Currently, BU students (through internships, independent studies, work study, service-learning courses, and volunteers) provide basic computer literacy training. The nonprofit organizations identify community members to receive the refurbished computers and computer literacy courses (all at no cost) and host all of the activities. Visit this site for more details. TOP


Last Updated: 7/31/15