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Civic Engagement

What is civic enagement and how does it differ from other kinds of community service.


What is Civic Engagement?

Community engagement is "individual and collective actions designed to identify and address issues of public concern. Civic engagement can take many forms, from individual voluntarism to organizational involvement to electoral participation. It can include efforts to directly address an issue, work with others in a community to solve a problem or interact with the institutions of representative democracy" (APA). Thomas Ehrlich contributes that it is "promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes." (Civic Responsibility and Higher Education)

The study of civic engagement is to know what is in the "common good" or more simply, to be involved in your community to make life better.  Engagement is a process where dialogue and conversation rather than activism or fear are used to help bring people together who may be on opposing sides of an issue.

What does community service mean?

"work that is done without pay to help people in a community" (Merriam-Webster). Community service frequently requires linking the knowledge learned from coursework to what the student experiences in the community.  A culminating project linking personal experience with interpersonal development plus reflection on the critical knowledge gained during the learning period is usually required.

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