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Civic Engagement

What Is Civic Engagement at NYU?

Commonly referred to as community service, volunteerism, or public service, civic engagement at NYU refers to both individual and collective initiatives designed to identify and address community needs and public concerns. Civic engagement takes many forms at NYU, from one-day and episodic service projects to year-long opportunities working alongside community partners locally, nationally, and globally. 

In addition, civic engagement has other dimensions:

  • It provides an opportunity for students to gain knowledge, develop critical thinking skills, and understand public issues as they relate to their academic work and school curricula.
  • It enriches student experience and scholarship through formal and informal community-based learning opportunities.
  • It engages the NYU community to work together to make a difference in the civic life of our communities.

As a private university in the public service, engagement and community knowledge are essential hallmarks of an NYU education and to an engaged citizenry.

Components of Civic Engagement at NYU

Student Service Programs

The NYU Office of Civic Engagement provides opportunities for students to develop deeper and richer partnerships with local non-profit organizations, public schools, city government, and civic organizations through several employment and service programs. The Office of Civic Engagement is home to:

  • NYU America Reads/America Counts, the nation's largest tutoring program in which over 800 undergraduate and graduate students work as tutors in over 80 NYC public schools annually.
  • NYU Jumpstart, an AmeriCorps program in which seventy NYU students work in small teams to help ensure academic success among pre-K children at local early education nonprofit organizations. 
  • NYU Public Service Corps, which provides student internship opportunities in over 30 New York City government offices. 

The Office of Civic Engagment also works in close partnership with the Center for Student Activities, Leadership and Service to support their vast array of comprehensive volunteer programming for students.

Supporting Nonprofit Partners

In addition, the Office of Civic Engagement coordinates the NYU Combined Campaign in which full-time employees donate funding to the United Way of NYC and dozens of local nonprofit organizations (as distributed through the NYU Community Fund). Since its inception in 1982, the campaign has raised over $2.4 million to support nonprofit organizations near NYU campuses.

Students may also take part semester specific internships to gain valuable nonprofit work experience through the Community Fund Internship Program.

Service Grant Programs

The Office of Civic Engagement coordinates two grant programs to encourage civic participation and volunteerism:

  • Community Service Project Grants are offered on a semi-annual basis to students, staff and faculty wishing to create or enhance community service initiatives on the Lower East Side and Greenwich Village and in neighborhoods adjacent to the many NYU schools and divisions.
  • Service Learning Course Development Grants are available to support the development or enhancement of undergraduate or graduate courses that include a practicum of a volunteer experience either organized by the instructor or developed by students as an integral part of the course.

Bill Pfeiffer
+1 212.998.2097

Jason Schultz
Assistant Director of America Reads & America Counts
+1 212.998.2094

Lisa Kail
Assistant Director of Civic Engagement
+1 212.998.2195


Sabrina Castro
Site Manager of Jumpstart
+1 212.998.2216

Marina Volok
Administrative Assistant
+1 212-998-2091

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