• High-Impact Engagement

Hands-on Learning in the City that Works

The University offers students in the College extensive opportunities for sustained volunteerism, community-based Federal Work-Study employment, internships, externships, and research assistantships through an ever-expanding range of programs. In order to fulfill the requirements of the Certificate, students must complete one such experience, documenting at least 200 hours of direct engagement in Chicago, obtain a positive recommendation from a community-based supervisor of or partner in their engagement, and subsequently articulate both academic learning and skills development as a result of this experience.

Curation of, advising on, and approval of such opportunities is coordinated through University Community Service Center (UCSC). Regardless of the specific experience, acceptance of a student’s high-impact engagement as fulfilling the requirement of the Certificate is contingent on that student’s demonstration of its relevance to their capstone project in some significant way, as well as confirmation from that student’s community-based supervisor or partner(s) regarding the positive, meaningful impact of that student’s work.

Ways that students could fulfill the high impact engagement requirement include:

on a single community issue through participation and leadership in a Community Service Recognized Student Organization (CSRSO) or with an external organization
whether through the Community-based Federal Work-Study program or independently of the University, including national or non-profit-sponsored service programs (e.g. AmeriCorps)
internship and social justice education program run by UCSC
supporting long-time University partner MAPSCorps as a mentor for After School Matters youth as they conduct asset-based research on the South and West sides of Chicago
with a Chicago politician or government office (sponsored by the Institute of Politics);
with a Chicago-based organization that positively impacts the city (sponsored by UChicago Career Advancement)

For examples of high-impact engagement submitted by enrollees in the Certificate Program, visit the CSCP Wiki.

Some Ways to Get Engaged

  • UCSC sponsors over 60 student-run, community-serving organizations, many of which partner with nonprofits around the city.
  • Each year, hundreds of UChicago students use their Federal Work-Study awards to provide low-cost services to Chicago nonprofits
  • Summer Links is a social justice education and internship program founded over 20 years ago by Michelle Obama



  • MAPSCorps employs college students as near-peer mentors for field teams of high school youth as they data to support community development projects
  • Paid opportunities to intern with government offices and political campaigns, during summer or the academic year