CWRU in CLE: Serve and Explore

group of case western reserve students walking through downtown cleveland during the discover cleveland event

At Case Western Reserve University, students are active members of the university and Cleveland community. That’s why we partner with the Center for Civic Engagement and Learning (CCEL) each year to provide you an opportunity to explore and engage with the Cleveland community during Discover Week.

During CWRU in CLE: Serve and Explore, you’ll have the opportunity to sign up for a service trip or excursion to discover what makes Cleveland awesome. Either way you’ll kickstart your discovery of Cleveland and learn how to use your Greater Cleveland RTA pass, which allows you to use your student ID for unlimited access to the bus and transit systems. You'll find the full list of CWRU in CLE service projects and excursions at the bottom of this page.

Watch how CWRU students before you have discovered Cleveland:

Serve

During the CWRU in CLE event, you can choose from a variety of service projects or volunteer information sessions, including sorting donations at the Cleveland Food Bank, harvesting community garden crops and more. Review the options:

With over 200 acres of gardens, Holden Arboretum can use many hands to help maintain the beauty of the gardens for all visitors. Volunteers will work with horticulturists and help with gardening tasks, such as weeding, deadheading, mulching, transplanting, etc.  If time allows after gardening, volunteers can also explore the Holden Arboretum, including the canopy walk and emergent tower, the Stickwork sculpture, and the summer exhibit "Mission Botanica" all free of charge. Volunteers should dress for the weather, bring a filled water bottle, and wear comfortable, work-appropriate clothes (long pants are recommended) that they don't mind getting dirty. Sunscreen, bug spray, and a hat are also recommended. Closed-toed shoes will be strictly required in order to participate in the project. All volunteers must be vaccinated for COVID-19, but booster shots are not required. Volunteers will need to show proof of vaccination at check-in, which can be their vaccination card, a copy of their vaccination card, or a picture of their vaccination card on their phone.

We also ask for a photo ID (driver's license or school ID). Participants will be emailed a waiver in advance of the event that must be completed before they can participate. Volunteers under 18 years old who register for this project, should contact erin.corwin@case.edu to receive a parent/guardian waiver in advance of the event.

Volunteer with North Union Farmers Market staff by organizing items for their annual fundraiser, Cleveland Garlic Festival. Projects will include moving pop up canopies (10X10 tents), tables, chairs, etc. and loading them into a truck. The work will be predominantly outdoors and volunteers should dress for the weather, bring a filled water bottle, and wear comfortable, work-appropriate clothes that they don't mind getting dirty. Sunscreen, bug spray and a hat are also recommended.

Shoes and Clothes for Kids (SC4K) is the only nonprofit organization in Greater Cleveland providing new shoes, school uniforms, clothes and school supplies throughout the year at no charge to thousands of children in need. Through our programs, we help improve school attendance, in some cases up to 24%, so that our community's children have the education they need to succeed. Volunteers will sort and count inventory, stock shelves, and fill online uniform and supply requests. Volunteers are encouraged to bring a filled water bottle and wear comfortable, work-appropriate clothes. Closed-toed shoes will be strictly required in order to participate in the project.

Participants will be emailed a waiver in advance of the event that must be completed before they can participate. Volunteers under 18 years old who register for this project, should contact erin.corwin@case.edu to receive a parent/guardian waiver in advance of the event.

Volunteers will sort, sticker and pack children's books in the warehouse. Thousands of high-quality books are given each month to hundreds of organizations in our community that distribute them to the kids they work with. To date, we have distributed over 3 million books since opening our doors in 2016. Some heavy lifting could be involved in moving packed boxes, and volunteers should be prepared to stand for the duration of the program. Closed-toed shoes are highly recommended as well as comfortable (there is no AC in the warehouse) work clothes, and a filled water bottle.

The Cleveland Cultural Gardens relies solely on volunteers to sustain this century old piece of history for all to enjoy. The projects may vary slightly from Garden to Garden such as raking, weeding, and planting. Water and snacks will be provided. Closed-toed shoes are recommended and volunteers should dress for the weather and wear comfortable, work-appropriate clothes that they don't mind getting dirty. Sunscreen, bug spray, and a hat are also recommended.

Volunteers are needed to help sort and repack nonperishable food that is later distributed to local food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters. Volunteers may also be needed to assist with the preparation of bagged lunches for the kids backpack program. Closed-toed shoes are strictly required to participate in this project and volunteers are encouraged to wear comfortable, work-appropriate clothes. Masks are required.

Participants will be emailed a registration link in advance of the event that must be completed before they can participate.

Founded in 1932, the Coit Road Farmers Market provides access to affordable, locally grown farm fresh produce to residents of Greater Cleveland. The four-acre market site includes a garden for community members to grow produce for family use as well as an urban farm area for growers who sell their produce at the Market. Volunteer work will include gardening and general cleanup of the site. This project will take place primarily outdoors, so volunteers should dress for the weather and wear comfortable clothes that they do not mind getting dirty or wet.

Participants will be emailed a waiver in advance of the event that must be completed before they can participate.

West Creek Conservancy protects local natural areas, open spaces, streams and waterways in our community. They're reclaiming vacant urban lands and restoring streams, wetlands, woods and natural habitats. Assist with land conservation tasks including native plant installations, invasive species removal and litter cleanup. Closed-toed shoes are recommended and volunteers should dress for the weather and wear comfortable, work-appropriate clothes that they don't mind getting dirty. Students must be 18 by 8/26 to volunteer.

Participants will be emailed a waiver in advance of the event that must be completed before they can participate.

Volunteers will help prep and paint a picnic shelter in the Cleveland Metroparks. Volunteers should dress for the weather, bring a filled water bottle, and wear comfortable, work-appropriate clothes (long pants are recommended) that they don't mind getting dirty. Sunscreen, bug spray, and a hat are also recommended. Closed-toed shoes will be strictly required in order to participate in the project. Participants will be emailed a registration link in advance of the event that must be completed before they can participate.

Volunteers under 18 years old who register for this project, must have their parent/guardian sign the online waiver in order to participate.

Founded in 1993, MedWish International is a not-for-profit organization that saves lives and the environment by repurposing discarded medical supplies and equipment to provide humanitarian aid in developing countries. With the help of Medwish staff, volunteers will work together to sort the donated supplies into categories to prepare for shipment. Volunteers should wear comfortable work clothes and bring a filled water bottle. Closed-toed shoes will be strictly required in order to participate in the project. Some heavy lifting may be involved, and volunteers should be prepared to stand for the duration of the project.

Participants will be emailed a registration link in advance of the event that must be completed before they can participate. Volunteers under 18 years old who register for this project, must have their parent/guardian sign the online waiver in order to participate.

Assist Cleveland Botanical Garden horticulture staff with gardening projects, such as weeding, deadheading, transplanting, etc. Get an insider's perspective of the gardens at a neighboring institution and know that you helped make the gardens more beautiful for all visitors! Volunteers should dress for the weather, bring a filled water bottle, and wear comfortable, work-appropriate clothes (long pants are recommended) that they don't mind getting dirty. Sunscreen, bug spray, and a hat are also recommended. Closed-toed shoes will be strictly required in order to participate in the project. All volunteers must be vaccinated for COVID-19, but booster shots are not required. Volunteers must have their COVID-19 card with them OR a picture of their card on their phone. This will be checked when the volunteers arrive. Also, some sort of photo ID (driver's license or school ID) is also needed for check in.

Participants will be emailed a waiver in advance of the event that must be completed before they can participate. Volunteers under 18 years old who register for this project, should contact erin.corwin@case.edu to receive a parent/guardian waiver in advance of the event.

The Transplant House of Cleveland offers a “home away from home” for patients and their families as they navigate the challenging journey of organ transplant. They have a "campus" in University Circle that consists of two apartment buildings and one house. The project will be an overall cleaning of the buildings' common areas and the grounds around the buildings. Volunteers must wear masks and be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Students must be 18 by 8/26 to volunteer.

Ronald McDonald House in Cleveland is situated on several acres—surrounded by beautiful trees, shrubs, flowers, herb gardens, decorative grasses and lawn. Outdoor features also include a koi pond, bird houses, children’s play areas, a treehouse and contemplative walkway. The grounds of the House have become a place where parents and patients can find peace within walking distance of the hospital. Volunteers will help with general gardening, weeding, spreading mulch, planting and dividing flowers, edging flower beds, and garden redesign. Volunteers should dress for the weather, bring a filled water bottle, and wear comfortable, work-appropriate clothes and sturdy, closed-toed shoes that they don't mind getting dirty. All volunteers must be completely illness/symptom free (cold, flu, fever, stomach virus, etc.) for at least 14 days prior to volunteering. Students must be 18 by 8/26 to volunteer.

Garden@Case is a CWRU volunteer-supported, on-campus garden used to educate in urban gardening practices and to provide food to a local hunger center. Volunteers will learn about how they can get involved and may assist with harvesting crops, weeding, planting, and watering. Volunteers should dress for the weather, bring a filled water bottle, and wear comfortable, work-appropriate clothes and sturdy, closed-toed shoes that they don't mind getting dirty. Sunscreen, bug spray, and a hat are also recommended. This project will take place on campus.

SpartanTHON, is student organization on-campus that raises money for kids in UH Rainbow Babies. Participants in this session will be making blankets for the kids and their families at the hospital, and the group will discuss how to get involved with them this year. This session will take place on campus.

Discover a part of Cleveland’s musical past with The Music Settlement, which provides early childhood education, music instruction and music therapy to people of all ages and levels of experience in Northeast Ohio. Volunteer tasks for this project might include sorting, grouping and cataloging sheet music; organizing instruments and recordings; assisting with clerical tasks; or cleaning the property's 1910 Burke Mansion. Volunteers will learn about other ways to keep serving throughout the year. There may be some heavy lifting involved, but on a very limited basis. The musical instruments are located in the site's basement; those with moderate to severe allergies should be cautious if considering this project. Students must be 18 by 8/26 to volunteer.

The Blood Drive will take place on-campus from 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Registered students will need to make an appointment on the Red Cross site: redcrossblood.org/give.html/drive-results?zipSponsor=CASE, or go to redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code: CASE.

Explore

There are many excursions to choose from, including opportunities to explore University Circle, Downtown Cleveland and Ohio City, home of the famous West Side Market, and much more.

Explore the unique dining, cultural and shopping options of this distinct neighborhood. AsiaTown’s vibrant restaurants will take you on an exciting trip to Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, China and many more destinations to satisfy your palate. And don’t forget to check out the indoor shopping centers—Asian Town Center and Asia Plaza! The neighborhood is also filled with outdoor shops for you to visit on a sunny day. There is always somewhere to discover in AsiaTown.

Please note: You can expect to ride public transportation for 15 min. and walk for a total of 15 min. to reach your destination.

At the heart of CWRU’s University Circle, The Cleveland Museum of Art is internationally renowned for its extensive permanent collection (particularly Asian and Egyptian holdings) of over 61,000 works of art from all over the world. Just steps away from campus, take a stroll through the gorgeous Wade Lagoon and Wade Park before stepping into the glass and marble architecture of the museum. And best of all, admission is always free to the general public!

Please note: You can expect to walk 5 min. to reach your destination.

A hip neighborhood not far from campus, Coventry Village is frequented by students and community members alike. Never a shortage of antique stores, book stores, thrift shops, coffee shops, music venues, theaters, and restaurants, Coventry has something for everyone. Between explorations, stop by to cool off with a milkshake from Tommy’s (crowned best milkshakes in Ohio) or some rolled ice cream. Get a head start on exploring one of CWRU students’ favorite places to spend a night with friends or try a cool new restaurant.

Please note: You can expect to ride public transportation for 8 min. and walk a total of 10 min. to reach your destination.

Are you bringing a bike to campus? Look no further than this sustainable CWRU in CLE trip! We will take you on a tour of the best bike paths around campus and University Circle! Join CWRU’s very own Cycling Club on an adventure to marvel at the sights around campus and beyond, all from the comfort of your very own bike. Perfect for all skill levels— stop to see the sights, grab a cup of coffee, meet new people and more!

Please note: You will need your own bike and a helmet on campus to attend this trip. You can expect to bike anywhere from 10-15 miles over the course of this three-hour trip, with some some stops along the way. It is also recommended to bring a bike lock, for these stops during the tour, as well as a filled water bottle. Please make sure your bike is in good working condition, as you will be responsible for your own bike in the event of any failure or damage.

Explore the heart of Downtown Cleveland! Take in the beauty of the urban park Public Square, discover the shops and history of Tower City (once the tallest skyscraper of Cleveland) and stroll down the popular East 4th Street for a unique dining and entertainment experience. Experience The Arcade, the first indoor shopping center to open in America! Since it's opening in 1890, The Arcade has become not only a place to shop but also a beautiful attraction with glass ceilings and iron balconies. Downtown has a lot to offer, from fun dining options, music venues, such as the House of Blues, and even the Cleveland Public Library. Downtown Cleveland has fun to offer at any time of the day!

Please note: You can expect to ride public transportation for 17 min. and walk for a total of 10 min. to reach your destination.

The Gordon Square Arts District is a world-class arts district, a retail and dining destination and a walkable community in the heart of Cleveland's Detroit Shoreway neighborhood. This neighborhood is hip and trendy, featuring 5 different theatres that host a variety of different musicals and productions throughout the year. There are more than 20 works of public art to take pictures with throughout your stroll through Gordon Square. Visit popular restaurants, such as the donut shop Brewnuts and Happy Dog. Gordon Square is home to Cleveland's LGBT Community Center that has been serving and supporting Cleveland's LGBT community since 1975, where students can visit to learn more about how they serve the Cleveland community or just hang out.

Please note: You can expect to ride public transportation for a total of 24 min. and walk a total of 25 min. to reach your destination.

A short walk from campus, Lakeview Cemetery is a popular destination for CWRU students to explore! Visit popular spots in the cemetery, such as Daffodil Hill or famous graves. John D. Rockefeller's Obelisk and burial site sits in this cemetery, as well as the James. A Garfield Memorial dedicated to the 20th president of the U.S.! Take a leisurely stroll or bike through the cemetery and feel free to sit by the two ponds located in the cemetery as you take in the history of Cleveland through this popular destination.

Please note: You can expect to walk 16 min. to reach your destination. Wear comfortable shoes as this trip involves a lot of walking.

Travel to a nearby outdoor shopping complex that combines well-known, upscale stores like L.L Bean, Chico, and Nordstrom, with unique boutique shops. There are also many delicious and exciting restaurants, like Cheesecake Factory or The Capital Grille, along with scenic spots to lounge around, take photos, and get to know your peers! Along with shopping, Legacy Village offers live music!

Please note: You can expect to ride public transportation for 30 min. and walk for a total of 10 min. to reach your destination.

Take a tour of the stunning Maltz Performing Arts Center—newly renovated in 2015 and a historical landmark in its own right. Now the epicenter of CWRU’s performing arts: including theater, music, and dance, the Silver Hall seats over 1,200 people! A short walk away from campus along the gorgeous, new Nord Family Greenway, come and marvel at the incredible architecture and historical significance of this 1920-era Tifereth Israel Temple.

Please note: You can expect to walk for a total of 12 min. to reach your destination.

Hang out at Cleveland’s lakefront on North Coast Harbor, home to many attractions and beautiful green spaces to take in the scenery, such as Voinovich Bicentennial Park. On the coast, within walking distance are Cleveland’s iconic Rock & Roll Hall of Fame*, the Great Lake Science Center, the Cleveland Clinic Dome theater, and FirstEnergy Stadium—home to the Cleveland Browns. Only a short walk away is the Cleveland Free Stamp, the world’s largest rubber stamp!

Please note: You can expect to ride public transportation for 26 min. and walk a total of 15 min. to reach your destination.

With over 250 local businesses, exploring Ohio City is a great way to dive into the heart and soul of Cleveland. With unique venues such as Glass Bubble Project, Tabletop Café, the original Mitchell's Ice Cream and more, Ohio City never disappoints! You can also discover the famous West Side Market that features over 100 vendors selling Cleveland-foodie classics, including prepared meals, sweet treats, fresh and locally grown groceries, meats, spices, and more. Ohio City is the second most walkable neighborhood in Cleveland, where you can access shops, restaurants, parks, and various community centers and organizations.

Please note: You can expect to ride public transportation for 20 min. and walk for a total of 13 min. to reach your destination.

Host to over 1,500 high school, collegiate and adult athletes on the banks of the Cuyahoga River in downtown Cleveland, the Cleveland Rowing Foundation facilitates and promotes the sport of rowing to the Greater Cleveland community. The sport of rowing is an extremely rewarding one, requiring that all eight individuals in the boat work together in order to move as fast as possible. Join CWRU’s very own rowing team, CWRU Crew, as they show you around the Cleveland Rowing Foundation Boathouse and introduce you to the basics of the sport. No prior rowing experience is necessary!

Please note: You can expect to ride public transportation for 20 min. and walk 20 min. to reach your destination. Be sure to wear comfortable clothing and gym shoes, as there will be a light workout!

Shaker Square cultivates a friendly sense of community in a fun and unique shopping and exploration area. Built throughout 1927 to 1929, Shake Square, added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1976, is the oldest shopping district in Ohio and the second oldest in the nation. Shop in one-of-a-kind locally owned shops, catch a movie, or dine in a variety of restaurants. A short walk away, Larchmere is filled with local restaurants, boutiques, antique shops, galleries, a campus-favorite local bookstore, and more!

Please note: You can expect to ride public transportation for 14 min. and walk a total of 10 min. to reach your destination.

Visit the Van Aken District, a local urban hub that offers an amazing mix of retail, restaurants and entertainment. The Van Aken Market Hall is home to several local restaurants, such as Brassica, Domo Yakitori and Sushi, Banter, and more, including some locally owned shops! Eat at Mitchell's or shop at the Cleveland Clothing Co.! Take this opportunity to take pictures with your new friends in front of wall art around the district!

Please note: You can expect to ride public transportation for a total of 28 min. and walk a total of 12 min. to reach your destination.