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 (CCE) 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 Binghamton University and our community is positively facilitated.

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.

How does civic engagement benefit the community?

The capacity of local organizations is strengthened significantly through the help of Binghamton University students, staff and faculty. Community partners that have worked with the 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, many organizations in the area rely on the high-quality help that our 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 the organizations. The 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 the CCE, students had a chance to volunteer their time and effort while lending a helping hand to the local community.

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.

What is the purpose of the CCE?

CCE serves as the centralized hub at Binghamton University for coordinating community engagement and service-learning. The 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.

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

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 CCE Student Newsletter, which lists many opportunities to volunteer, work on projects, internships, conferences and related scholarships and awards. If a specific interest is not found in the newsletter, explore our searchable Service Listings database. You can search by keywords, fields of interest, bus access and other categories.

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

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

You can subscribe to the CCE Student Newsletter online. You may unsubscribe at any time by clicking the "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of every newsletter.

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

We have designed the CCE Student Newsletter and Service Listings to make it easy for students to find opportunities and connect with area organizations directly. However, we are happy to help, as well. Just send an email to cce@binghamton.edu with available times that you can meet with a CCE staff member. 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.

How can I find opportunities that match my specific interests?

If you are looking for something specific that you do not see in the Student Newsletter, explore our searchable Service Listings database. You can search by keywords, fields of interest, paid/unpaid and many other categories. As always, you are also welcome to stop by the CCE office in UU-137 to find out more.

Do I need a car to be civically engaged?

The short answer is "no." While having a car makes it easier to get around the local area, many students who do not have a car are still able to find fulfilling ways to be civically engaged. OCCT and BCT bus lines are both free for student use and many of the most popular service sites in the area are easy to access from the bus lines. For more information about where the various bus routes go, or to find out exactly how to get to a particular location, check out our GIS Transportation Map.

CCE also offers special transportation options to some sites that are not on bus lines, such as area schools that we partner with through our Community Schools and Youth Programs initiative. These transportation options run on a particular schedule that corresponds to specific opportunities, however, so you must speak with a CCE staff member in order to take advantage of them.

Finally, while actually getting out into the local community is ideal, there are ways to be civically involved without leaving campus, as well. Check out our Political Engagement team or join a student group that works with a community organization. You could also take a service-learning course — an academic class that incorporates community engagement — which often provides transportation for class-related community work.

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.

Can I receive academic credit for an internship?

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

The CCE will be glad to help you plan for and promote community service events. Send an email to cce@binghamton.edu 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.

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

The CCE is always happy to publicize student-led events that benefit others through the weekly CCE Student Newsletter. Just email cce@binghamton.edu with a brief description with important information regarding your event including a descriptive paragraph, date, time and the location of your event, and the CCE will get back to you about posting the information.

I am trying to find a non-credit service program abroad. How can the CCE help me?

Send an email to cce@binghamton.edu to make an appointment to speak with a CCE staff memeber. 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?

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

The CCE and the International Student Scholar Services (ISSS) regularly offer organized group service projects for international students during Spring Break. If you are interested in finding out more, email cce@binghamton.edu, and regularly review the CCE Student Newsletter for information regarding upcoming Alternative Break programs.

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 CCE, those most greatly affected by this in our area 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, SUNY Broome and various community partners with the goal of increasing information technology access to the target groups listed above. Student volunteers refurbish the computers to be provided to these local populations. Other student 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. 

Last Updated: 11/23/16