Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

Civic Engagement


Civic engagement is acting upon a heightened sense of responsibility to one’s communities.  Civic engagement encompasses the notions of global citizenship and interdependence.  Through civic engagement, individuals—as citizens of their communities, their nations, and the world—are empowered as agents of positive social change for a more democratic world.  

Civic engagement involves one or more of the following:

  • Learning from others, self, and environment to develop informed perspectives on social issues
  • Valuing diversity and building bridges across difference
  • Behaving, and working through controversy, with civility [and honesty]
  • Taking an active role in the political process
  • Participating actively in public life and public problem solving
  • Assuming leadership and membership roles in organizations
  • Developing empathy, ethics, values, and sense of social responsibility
  • Promoting social justice locally and globally

(Coalition for Civic Engagement and Leadership, 2005)


Civic engagement at Southwestern University

  • Volunteerism / Days of Service
  • Activism
  • Internships
  • Co-Curricular Service
  • Community-Engaged Research
  • Community-Engaged Learning

The OCE challenges Southwestern students to recognize that they are not only members of the college campus, but also active participants within Georgetown and the greater community.

Such participation requires students to:

  • Increase awareness of the greater community
  • Connect their education to prominent community issues
  • Partner with appropriate nonprofits and social agencies

Students may work with local organizations that address issues of education, housing, heath, poverty, and aging.

Students are encouraged to extend their passions and liberal arts education in the pursuit of social justice. Such a focus promotes social change in institutions or political structures, works to respond to long-term needs, and is directed at the root causes of social problems. By combining theoretical considerations with direct service within the community, SU students are well positioned to move towards truly active citizenship that aims to effect change.


Community-Engaged Learning

CEL is a course-based teaching and learning method in which students engage in structured service and action that allows them to apply what they are learning to community-based issues and problems. Students learn while serving, and grow through reflection on their contributions.

Southwestern University CEL courses:

  • Doing Good and Doing it Well
  • General Chemistry
  • Paideia cohorts
  • Sociology of Childhood
  • Spanish III


Guides to local non-profits and social service agencies

Non-Profits and Social Service Agencies: Georgetown Identify Georgetown’s agencies and nonprofits that address key issues. Updated May 2013.

Non-Profits and Social Service Agencies: Greater Austin Area Identify agencies and nonprofits that address key issues in Central Texas. Updated May 2013.


Establishing Connections

If your organization would like to initiate a partnership with Southwestern University’s Office of Civic Engagement, please complete this form. We will contact you shortly to discuss next steps.

Please also check our NPO Guide to see if your organization has been included. If not, please notify us. We update the guide each summer; in the meantime, your current information will be valuable as we work with students and classes who are looking for volunteer opportunities.


Community Partners Evaluation

Has your organization partnered with Southwestern University students or faculty in the past? Please assist us in assessing and improving existing university-community partnerships by completing our Community Partners Evaluation.


Community Partners Lunch & Learn PowerPoint Presentation

Feel free to use this PowerPoint presentation as a resource for initiating quality partnerships between SU and community organizations.

Additional Resources

“Like” our Facebook page and “Follow” us on Twitter for regular opportunities.

Check out the OCE’s Bulletin Board in the Commons to join the discussion!

Georgetown nonprofit organizations. A condensed version of our Central Texas guide, this list includes only organizations that have volunteer opportunities in Georgetown.  Nonprofits are listed according to target issue.

Our guide to non-profit organizations in Central Texas may also be helpful. Organizations are categorized by issue and location.  Contact information for NPOs is provided.  Last updated: 2013.

Non-Profits and Social Service Agencies: Georgetown 

Non-Profits and Social Service Agencies: Greater Austin Area is a valuable resource for those who would like to find employment in the non-profit sector after graduation. Search based on target issue or location.

Volunteer Match is a great resource to search for your dream volunteer opportunity. Get in touch with organizations and personalize the searching process. offers tools that equip youth to take action for a wide range of social issues.



Annual Report