Civic and Community Engagement, located in the Larry and Kathryn Smith Chapel, functions as a unit within Student Leadership and Involvement and is part of the Division of Student Affairs.
Civic and Community Engagement at Penn State Behrend connects students to the community and to the world. Through experiences such as volunteering at a local nonprofit organization, collecting items to donate, traveling on the Alternative Spring Break trip, or taking a service-learning course, students evolve in their role as citizens and develop the knowledge, skills, values, and motivation to be active participants in their communities.
Volunteering for positive social change is a collaborative experience and can be a meaningful way to learn about yourself and others. Through volunteering, students have the opportunity to build relationships in their community and work with others toward the betterment of the area in which they live and study. At Behrend, you'll find volunteer opportunities through involvement in student organizations, as part of your coursework, or through individual participation in opportunities offered locally and beyond.
Resources are available to connect students to volunteer opportunities. You can stay up-to-date with our BehrendSync page, and by following us on Instagram. If you're a student, you'll also get our Spotlight on Service newsletter through your Penn State email. Visit Get Connected Erie or Volunteer Match for volunteer opportunities.
Contact us at [email protected].
Collaboration with local organizations to provide funds and goods is another way Behrend is an asset to the community. Students, faculty, and staff work in partnership with the United Way and local nonprofits to contribute to the greater good.
- Healthy Living Leads to Strong Minds - Erie School District/United Way
This collaborative effort with the Biology Department promotes healthy futures by collecting hand sanitizer, tissues, wipes, and soap to donate to local schools through the United Way. The donations help support the schools, teachers, and students by promoting hygiene and fighting illness in the classroom. Items are collected on campus throughout the fall semester.
- Thanksgiving Food Drive - Second Harvest Food Bank of NWPA
The Thanksgiving Food Drive, which routinely collects 1,600-plus pounds of food for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania, is held during the fall semester as part of Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. Thanksgiving meal items are collected throughout November and the drive is capped off with the annual Dinner for Six event.
- Blizzard of Blankets - The Upper Room
During Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, the Behrend community is asked to donate blankets as well as winter clothing and accessories to donate to The Upper Room's drive to support our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness in Erie. Donations are collected throughout November.
- Shining Star - St. Martin Center
St. Martin Center of Erie's Shining Star program has a simple goal: Make sure every child in need has a wonderful Christmas. This annual holiday program is an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to provide a gift to a local child in need. As a campus community, we serve up to 100 children per year. Shining Star takes place after Thanksgiving.
- Trash 2 Treasure Sale - United Way
This rummage sale allows students, faculty and community members to donate or purchase a variety of affordably priced, gently used items. Donations are accepted in the weeks leading up to the event, and the sale takes place on campus at the end of the spring semester.
Serving as an asset to the community goes beyond giving time or money. By educating ourselves about issues that impact our community and understanding their root causes, we can position ourselves to work with others to make a difference. The opportunity to learn through service can happen through a volunteer experience, taking a service-learning course, through our Minor in Civic and Community Engagement, or through building relationships with fellow community members. Students interested in developing or participating in capacity-building projects should contact staff to discuss opportunities.