CCEL believes it takes multiple forms of civic engagement working together to advance social change and to address systemic injustice. Therefore, many of the Scholars' components align with these multiple forms of civic engagement and incorporate opportunities for student reflection.

Civic Engagement Scholars have 3 primary requirements:

  • Attend 2 all-Scholars trainings focused on responsible engagement and understanding Cleveland’s history.
  • Perform 30 hours (total) of civic engagement activities.
  • Complete a final written reflection about the Scholars experience.

In order to earn a Certificate of Distinction, students must meet the above program requirements between August 9, 2022 and May 11, 2023. Completed program requirements will be tracked through the Civic Engagement Scholars checklist (available to Scholars by October). Please contact Erin Corwin, with questions about these requirements.

Registration for the 2022-2023 Civic Engagement Scholars program is closed. The program will accept applications for the 2023 -2024 program at the begining of the Fall 2023 semester.

All-Scholars Trainings (2 total):

All-Scholars will participate in two trainings, one in the Fall semester and one in the Spring semester. Time spent participating in these trainings is not eligible to be counted towards the program’s civic engagement hours requirement. CCEL will update these training details as they are finalized:

  • New Scholars (i.e. - those participating in the program for the first time): Attend the New Scholars Kick-Off Training on Wednesday, September 21 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. via Zoom (enrolled Scholars will receive the date and Zoom link). Students with an academic conflict who email CCEL will receive the make-up training option after the Zoom training. 
  • Returning Scholars (i.e. - those who have participated in the program previously): This year’s training is to attend 1 guided tour between September 22 - October 1 alongside other Scholars of the Cleveland History Center near campus. Tour dates will be available through CampusGroups (, and early registration is encouraged as spots are limited.

The Spring all-Scholars training will be confirmed during the fall semester and shared with Scholars.


Civic Engagement Hours (30 hours total):

In addition to completing the all-Scholars trainings and final reflection, Scholars are also required to complete at least 30 eligible civic engagement hours between August 9, 2022 and May 11, 2023. These hours must be logged in the Civic Engagement Scholars checklist each day they are completed, rather than in a single entry at the end of the year. You will receive access to the checklist in October; in the interim, Scholars can track hours independently and then retroactively log them in the checklist.

Because it takes multiple forms of civic engagement to achieve social change, hours within the following forms of civic engagement are eligible to be counted towards Scholars hours: community service, political involvement, philanthropic giving, advocacy, social responsibility, or participation in associations. Scholars can complete all of their hours within just one of these forms OR through a combination of forms; there is no minimum or maximum requirement for how many hours should be completed within each form or with a specific organization. 

Scholars are able to customize how they would like to complete 30 total hours of civic engagement activities:

  • All Scholars are required to complete at least 20 action hours, directly taking action in any or a combination of the forms of civic engagement. Scholars who wish to complete all 30 hours in action activities are welcome to do so.* 
  • Scholars also have the option to count up to 10 education hours related to civic engagement topics towards their 30 total civic engagement hours. Academic coursework cannot count towards education hours.

* ​​Note: Scholars can count up to (but no more than) 20 action hours that are paid or are part of an academic class if those hours benefit an off-campus organization (for example, a Scholar could count up to 20 hours spent in the following activities that have an off-campus benefit: Project STEP-UP tutoring, a paid internship with a nonprofit, nursing clinicals, a service-learning class project that benefits a community organization).

Outlined below are more details on examples of action and education hours within each form of civic engagement. You can also find date-specific activities eligible to count towards your 10 optional education hours on this list. If you are unsure if an activity can count towards your civic engagement hours, please contact Erin Corwin, with questions.

Definition of Community Service: Giving personal time and energy to address immediate community needs. Examples include traditional volunteering (tutoring, serving meals at a shelter, park clean-ups, repairing homes, etc.), paid or unpaid nonprofit internships, project-based work to support a nonprofit, etc. 

Examples of community service ACTION hours:

  • Completing an in-person or remote/virtual volunteer project (paid or unpaid) with a nonprofit, school, or public agency that you locate on your own. Some resources to assist you in locating these opportunities include CCEL’s community service directory and virtual volunteering hub
  • Time spent volunteering through a student service club that has a direct benefit on a nonprofit, school, or public agency.
  • Participating in a service activity coordinated by CCEL, such as CCEL Serves, a service project during CCEL’s new student service day, Saturday of Service, National Volunteer Week service projects, or volunteering as on-campus vaccine distribution/testing support (stay tuned to CCEL’s CampusGroups page for dates throughout the year).
  • Course-related required service-learning or clinical hours with a nonprofit, school, or public agency.
  • Within reason, local transportation time to get to and from your service site.
  • Project STEP-UP or Provost Scholars tutoring.
  • Serving with CWRU’s Physical Resource Center (PRC).

*Note: Scholars can count up to (but no more than) 20 action hours that are paid or are part of an academic class if those hours benefit an off-campus organization.

Examples of community service EDUCATION hours:

  • Required training or application completion time needed to serve at a nonprofit, school, or public agency.
  • Attending an information session or fair to learn about volunteer opportunities that support a nonprofit, school, or public agency, such as time spent at CCEL’s Fall Service Fair, info sessions during CCEL’s new student service day, student service club 101 sessions, etc. (stay tuned to CCEL’s CampusGroups page for ideas).

Definition of Political Involvement: Participating in processes of government, including keeping informed about issues in order to vote and discuss community issues responsibly. While time spent registering yourself to vote and voting is not eligible to be counted towards civic engagement hours, CCEL is happy to support students with election and voter resources to help you engage in this important way. 

*While holding an elected position in a CWRU student organization is a valuable leadership opportunity, “political involvement” in Civic Engagement Scholars refers to off-campus, community positions and elections.

Examples of political involvement ACTION hours:

  • Serving as a poll worker.
  • Get-out-the-vote activities you organize, registering others to vote, campaigning on behalf of a candidate or issue, and/or collecting signatures to get a candidate or issue on the ballot.
  • Time spent planning, prepping for, publicizing, and carrying out a political education event (debate watch party, candidate forum, understanding your ballot, etc.).
  • Internships or volunteering in an elected official’s office.
  • Testifying at a local, state, or national level governing body assembly.

Examples of political involvement EDUCATION hours:

  • Participating in personal voter education events, such as voter 101 sessions or watching debates or candidate forums.
  • Attending whole body or committee meetings of elected officials at the local, state, or national level to stay informed (ex. attending a city council or school board meeting).
  • Participating in the Elect Her training or other trainings on running for office at the local, state, or national level or about influencing policy change.
  • Time spent shadowing an elected official at the local, state, or national level or attending educational events on what it’s like to work in politics.

Definition of Philanthropic Giving: Donating funding or needed items; organizing or participating in fundraising events.

Examples of philanthropic giving ACTION hours:

  • Time spent personally donating or raising funds for a cause you care about; promoting your fundraiser on social media; time spent participating in a fundraising event for a nonprofit, school, or public agency or time spent calling/writing family to solicit donations for those organizations; thanking donors; etc.
  • Organizing, promoting, and/or soliciting donations for a supply drive.
  • Preparing and dropping off personal donations for a supply drive.

Examples of philanthropic giving EDUCATION hours:

  • Time spent attending trainings or educational programs about fundraising best practices (ex. philanthropy 101), understanding the history of philanthropy in the nonprofit sector, or critically examining current philanthropic practices and areas of improvement. 

Definition of Advocacy: Using various models of persuasion (e.g. petitions, demonstrations, letter writing) to convince decision makers to make choices that will benefit the community. Raising public awareness of social issues.

Examples of advocacy ACTION hours:

  • Calling, writing, emailing, or meeting with your elected official or other decision makers concerning a civic cause you care about.
  • Signing and/or promoting a petition for a civic cause.
  • Participating in a protest/demonstration about a civic cause.
  • Time spent planning, prepping for, publicizing, and carrying out an educational event about a community issue to raise awareness.
  • Time spent meeting with / outreaching to stakeholders to talk with them about a civic cause of concern to you in an effort to raise awareness and build a coalition.
  • Writing and submitting letters to the editor or op-eds about a civic cause of concern to you.
  • Participating in a task force (such as For a Better CWRU) that promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion to make CWRU or other local communities in which you live more welcoming and equitable.

Examples of advocacy EDUCATION hours:

  • Participating in trainings on advocacy, community organizing, lobbying, or policy change.
  • Attending educational events (lectures, panels, book clubs, Social Justice Movie Club, etc.) about a civic topic of concern to you (ex. hunger, homelessness, racial justice, civil discourse, education, etc.) so that you can be best informed on that issue in order to understand its root causes, current impacts, and ways to engage.
  • Attending educational events to learn about the life and work of advocates or community organizers (ex. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez, Saul Alinsky, Fannie Lou Hamer, etc.) in order to better understand the tactics and principles they follow(ed) in an effort to apply them to your own work.

Definition of Social Responsibility: Maintaining a sense of responsibility to the welfare of others when making personal or professional decisions. Making lifestyle choices that reflect commitment to socially just priorities and using one’s career to benefit community.

Examples of social responsibility ACTION hours:

  • Donating blood on or off-campus (listing of CWRU on-campus drives).
  • Joining Be The Match bone marrow registry.
  • Registering to become an organ donor.
  • Time spent collecting and preparing recycling.
  • Picking up litter in your community.
  • Time spent planning, prepping for, publicizing, and carrying out an educational event about a social responsibility related topic (ex. social justice; diversity, equity, and inclusion; global leadership; sustainability; corporate social responsibility; ethical leadership; socially responsible investing; leading a Stop the Bleed or CPR session; etc.) .

Examples of social responsibility EDUCATION hours:

  • Engaging as a participant in a Stop the Bleed, CPR, and/or T.H.I.N.K. (suicide prevention) training or completing September National Preparedness Month modules or CWRU Community Response Team training in order to be prepared to support community members in an emergency.
  • Engage in trainings that equip you to become a better ally and active "upstander" to intervene when you witness situations of violence or harm in your community and to build a more inclusive, safe environment for all. Examples include:
  • Participating in other educational events about a social responsibility related topic (ex. social justice; diversity, equity, and inclusion; global citizenship; sustainability; corporate social responsibility; ethical leadership; socially responsible investing; etc.).

Definition of Participation in Associations: Participating in community organizations that develop social networks and provide a foundation for community-building efforts. Examples: attending block club meetings, serving on a board, engaging in dialogues.

Examples of participation in associations ACTION hours:

  • Join CCEL for CWRUinCLE excursions to explore and better understand Cleveland neighborhoods and assets and meet with community changemakers (stay tuned to CCEL’s CampusGroups page for dates throughout the year).
  • Time spent serving on non-CWRU affiliated nonprofit governing, Young Professional, or advisory council boards (sample list of YP boards).
  • Participating in block club events or other meetups of community-based civic groups.
  • Engaging in Know Your Neighbors CWRU student-local resident discussion meetings (facebook, instagram).
  • Participating in a Virtual Community of Practice or network night with Neighborhood Connections or Innovator’s Monthly Meetup with CWRU’s Community Innovation Network that helps you learn about the Cleveland community and build relationships with residents.
  • Actively engaging in dialogues that help you build community with others to make your campus or Cleveland community a more inclusive and equitable place. Examples include participating in Sustained Dialogue, Days of Dialogue, PossePlus Retreat, Common Ground, Cleveland Dinners, etc.

Examples of participation in associations EDUCATION hours:

  • Attending events to learn about Cleveland’s history, current affairs, and civic leaders in order to become more knowledgeable about your local community. Examples include attending forums through The City Club of Cleveland, Cleveland Leadership Center’s Way Forward Leader Leader Lunch Breaks and its other offerings, occasional Siegal Lifelong Learning lectures about topics in Cleveland history, etc.
  • Engaging in dialogue facilitator or dialogue participant training sessions to build your skills in dialoguing.

Civic Engagement Scholars are invited to participate in the Global Citizenship Program! This program affords students the opportunity to:

enhance their ability to effectively communicate across cultures

develop a greater understanding and appreciation of perspectives and experiences different than their own.

Learn and understand more about themselves and the world.

By completing 10 action hours and 10 education hours related global citizenship, Scholars are eligible for incentives:

$200 study abroad scholarship.

Credly "Global Citizenship" badge for virtual use

Free Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) assessment and debrief by an IDI Qualified Administrator

Global Citizenship certificate signed by CWRU's senior international officer, David Fleshler, VP for International Affairs

Find more information on the program’s homepage or by meeting with the staff of the Office of Education Abroad team. Appointments can be found on MyJourney. 

The term “Global Citizenship” encompasses such values as cultural empathy, civic responsibility, adaptability, passion for engaging people from different backgrounds, and the appreciation for diversity.

Examples of global citizenship ACTION hours:

  • Volunteering on-campus
    • Participating in an existing CWRU communities focused on global betterment and service, like the Global Medical Brigades or Engineers without Borders.
    • Volunteering for an on-campus event that targets international populations, intercultural competence or international awareness like UDC’s Global Expo, CSSA’s Lunar New Year, TASA’s Plum Blossom Banquet, uISA’s Navaranti Garba, etc.
    • Time spent planning, preparing, publicizing and carrying out an educational event about a global responsibility-related topic (ex: global leadership, immigration, UN Sustainable Development Goals, ethical volunteering abroad, etc.).
    • Volunteering with the Center for International Affairs as part of the International Student Services International Student Advisory CouncilStudy Abroad Fair or other events.
  • Volunteering off-campus:
    • Indirect service of international populations and/or practicing intercultural competence within an existing action framework.  For example, helping an international family while volunteering at UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital.
    • Direct service with an organization that specifically targets international populations and/or intercultural competence like Asian Services in Action, US Together, Global Cleveland, Esperanza,
      IRTF, USCRI, Refugee Response, and MedWish, among others.
    • International service abroad through a program familiar with the Office of Education Abroad (ISLRA Options).

Some resources to assist you in locating these opportunities include CCEL’s community service directory and virtual volunteering hub

 Examples of global citizenship EDUCATION hours:

  • Attending educational events on-campus:
    • Special lectures, DACA panels, International Public Affairs Discussion Topics, workshops led by staff in the Center for International Affairs on areas of expertise such as immigration challenges, working with international students, studying abroad and others.
    • Global-themed book clubs (The Devil’s Highway (Luis Alberto Urrea), A Long Way Gone (Ishmael Beah), The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini), Born a Crime (Trevor Noah), Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (Marjane Satrapi), I am Malala (Malala Yousafzai) and others).
    • Center for International Affairs cultural events (Holi, Lunar New Year, Asian Mid-Autumn Festival).

You may also choose to participate in other programming, both on and off campus, that fits into the metrics of cultural learning and/or global understanding. 

Final Reflection:

In addition to participating in written or in-person reflection experiences as part of all-Scholars trainings, Scholars will also be required to complete a written year-end final reflection form about their overall experience in the program that will be emailed to Scholars in April.