Center for Civic Engagement

Community-Campus Partnerships

Community partner provides orientation to a group of student volunteers.

The CCE embraces the elements of Authentic Partnerships and the Guiding Principles of Partnership developed by the Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH) to frame its work with community organizations.

Below are links to additional information about these principles and best practices for fostering meaningful community-campus partnerships and transformative student community-based learning experiences.

  • Principles of Partnership

    Position Statement on Authentic Partnerships Including Guiding Principles of Partnership

    Leiderman, S., Furco, A., Zapf, J., and Goss, M. (2016). Building Partnerships with College Campuses: Community Perspectives. The Council of Independent Colleges. Washington, D.C.

    Portland State University. (2008). A Guide to Reciprocal Community-Campus Partnerships. Portland State University Partnership Forum. Portland, OR.

  • Types of Opportunities: One Time & Short-Term Projects

    Students typically seek out the following types of community engagement opportunities. These opportunities are listed on CougSync, which is the primary recruitment and management tool for community organizations working with WSU students, and the primary means for tracking WSU student civic engagement.


    Community Projects

    Community Projects are one time projects for students (individuals and groups) seeking service opportunities on a short-term basis. These opportunities typically run for two to four hours and may be a one time event or reoccurring on a regular basis. Community Projects tend to require a minimal commitment by the student and do not rely on the same students for reoccurring projects. Community Projects that occur on a National Day of Service or as a part of specific events like Poverty Awareness Week or Civic Engagement Week receive additional exposure and marketing. Click here to see a list of upcoming events. Community Projects may be eligible for additional CCE-Led Project Leader or Group Project support (see below for more information).


    CCE-Led Projects (WSU Pullman Partners Only)

    CCE-led projects are community service projects facilitated by trained undergraduate student staff on the WSU Pullman Campus. CCE staff provide on site project facilitation and transportation for WSU students to and from the project site. Additionally, CCE staff facilitate brief orientations and reflection opportunities for students to frame their service experience. Projects typically last two to four hours. Students sign up for one project at a time and are not committed to attending the project weekly, but many opt to return. CCE staff facilitate twenty-five to thirty projects each week throughout the school year within a fifty mile radius of WSU Pullman Campus.

    Please contact the CCE Community Programs Coordinator, Jessica Perone, at 509-335-4609 or jessica.perone@wsu.edu to inquire if your organization's opportunity would be appropriate to be offered as a CCE-led Project.


    Group Projects

    CCE staff work with a variety of student groups, fraternities, sororities, sports clubs, residence hall living groups, and groups of friends to assist them with setting up service projects throughout the community. Groups can range in size from five to five hundred students, and projects typically last two to four hours. CCE staff can assist your organization with recruiting and matching your opportunity with an energetic group of students eager to make a difference in their community. Additionally, CCE staff work with various WSU staff and alumni groups throughout the year to develop community engagement opportunities that meet specific group goals.

    Please contact the CCE Community Programs Coordinator, Jessica Perone, at 509-335-4609 or jessica.perone@wsu.edu to inquire if your organization's opportunity would be appropriate to be offered as a group project.


  • Types of Opportunities: Long-Term Projects, Internships, & Jobs

    Course Partnerships

    The CCE supports a variety of academic courses that incorporate service learning into the curriculum. A CCE course project involves faculty, students, and community partners working to develop and implement a project that aligns course learning objectives with a community identified need. This is a great way for students to gain real world work experience while helping make the community a better place.  Click here to see a showcase of academic service learning at WSU.

    If your organization is interested in partnering with a course, please contact the Community Partnerships Coordinator, Ryan Lazo, at ryan.lazo@wsu.edu.


    Individual Placements and Service Learning Internships

    Long-term opportunities (minimum one semester) can provide students with rich community engagement experiences. These opportunities may range from two to four hours per week throughout the semester for placements, and five or more hours per week for service learning internships. Service learning internships may be offered for academic credit.

    For more information about developing rewarding internships for WSU students that provide rich, community based, professional development experiences and fulfill a need for your organization, click here, or contact the CCE Community Partnerships Coordinator, Ryan Lazo, at 509-335-0687 or ryan.lazo@wsu.edu.


    Community Based Research

    According to the Centre for Community Based Research, Community Based Research is defined as research that strives to be:

    • Community situated: Begins with a research topic of practical relevance to the community (as opposed to individual scholars) and is carried out in community settings
    • Collaborative: Community members and researchers equitably share control of the research agenda through active and reciprocal involvement in the research design, implementation, and dissemination
    • Action-Oriented: The process and results are useful to community members in making positive social change and to promote social equity

    Many WSU faculty and graduate students actively seek out opportunities to partner with community organizations to address issues in the community. One example of this in action can be found here.

    If your organization is interested in partnering with faculty or graduate students to answer your research questions, please contact the CCE Community Partnerships Coordinator, Ryan Lazo, at 509-335-0687 or ryan.lazo@wsu.edu to discuss your research opportunity.


    Off Campus Work Study (Washington Partners Only)

    Nonprofit community organizations are eligible to apply to the State of Washington to be reimbursed for a portion of students wages for work study eligible students through the Off Campus Work Study Program. The purpose of the Off Campus Work Study Program is to reimburse employers a percentage of gross pay for certain positions. To become an approved off campus work study employer, the employer must provide a job to the student that is directly related to the student’s major (RCW 28.B12.060) or is a nonprofit, non-sectarian community service organization. The student must be a Washington state resident awarded work study funding. For more detailed information regarding Off Campus Work Study and how to apply, click here.

  • Recruiting Students

    Recruiting students to participate in your organization's opportunities takes a bit of work, but it is worth it! Here are a few pointers on how to recruit WSU students:

    • Post and regularly update your opportunities on your organization's CougSync portal
    • Utilize social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) to engage students. Post on the CCE Facebook page, tag the CCE in photos and posts, and link back our accounts to your various account posts. By utilizing these resources, students are able to get a better sense of the work your organization does.
    • Promote your organization by tabling at the annual CougSync Connect Fair. Doing so allows students to put a face to your organization and ask questions about your mission and the work you do in the community.
    • Attend the annual Campus Community Forum, hosted by the Washington State University Center for Civic Engagement and the University of Idaho Center for Volunteerism and Social Action. This collaborative event brings together community partners, faculty, students and staff to discuss campus community partnerships and student civic engagement.
    • Contact student groups directly. If you have work that might fit in with a student group's mission, you can reach out to them directly for their assistance. Browse student organizations through CougSync here.
    • Contact Center for Civic Engagement staff to assist you with developing strategies to best promote your opportunities and recruit students. Email cce.partners@wsu.edu or call 509-335-7708.

    CCE Social Media Sites

    Post on our pages, tag us in photos and posts, and link back to our accounts! We'll like, comment, or share.

  • Student Orientation

    Once the placement or opportunity is agreed upon, a specific assignment is determined and the service learning student should be provided with a thorough orientation. The orientation should make the student feel accepted and clarify their role, responsibilities, and expectations as well as how this all fits in with your agency’s mission.

    Here are some suggestions for providing a general orientation:

    • A tour of the facility
    • A brief overview of the organization
    • An introduction to the staff
    • A review of the rules, regulations, policy, dress codes, and timekeeping requirements (Note: in addition to any timekeeping records your agency may have, students will generally have a Record of Civic Engagement form which will need to be signed by their supervisors each time they are at the agency)
    • An overview of parking and safety
    • A discussion of the student’s role, including specific tasks and specific benefits to the agency
    • Acquaint the student with any agency procedures for notifying the agency if the student has to miss one of his/her scheduled workdays
    • An explanation of any jargon or language used by the staff

    For more suggestions on how to orient WSU students to your organization click here.

  • Motivating Students

    Below is a list to provide community organizations a starting point to motivate and retain service learning students.

    • Start with Why: Articulate why the work they are doing is important to the mission of the organization and why your organization matters.
    • Make your expectations clear: Ensure all students are given job descriptions, orientations and/or training sessions, and feedback so they are aware of what is expected of them.
    • Lead by example: If the task at hand is worth being excited or passionate about, then demonstrate that enthusiasm, which will inspire those around you.
    • Make the experience meaningful: Students need to feel that their participation is essential and important to the agency.
    • Remember to give attention to relationships: It is important that positive relationships be established and maintained. While it is not necessary to be every student's best friend, it is essential that you try to develop relationships that are cordial, respectful and honest.
    • Show your appreciation: Show gratitude for all of their efforts by saying "Thank You," presenting awards, or other forms of recognition. If possible, providing a small snack or food goes a long way to show appreciation with students.
    • Nominate stellar students for the monthly Community Involvement Award or annual WSU President's Award for Leadership: For more information about these Civic Engagement Awards, click here.

    The most important thing to remember is that there are no tricks to motivation. The strategies discussed above require time, energy, and awareness.

  • Providing Feedback

    As you work with students, it is important to give students feedback about the work they are doing. This helps students see how important they are to your agency and those being served, as well as offering suggestions for improvement. Throughout their academic career, students are gaining a lot of important skills to help them in the future; their service learning experience offers them an opportunity to gain hands on experience in their prospective career field. Many students may wish to include their service learning placement on future professional resumes, scholarships, and graduate school applications. If you complete evaluations for students, it is a good idea to maintain a record of the evaluations for future reference calls regarding a student.

  • Difficult Students

    Occasionally you may be faced with a difficult student. The student may not be adhering to the standards of your agency, putting others at risk, and not engaged in the work. In these situations try to address any problems as soon as they arise; conversations regarding performance issues should be carried out in a one-to-one setting. When talking with the student describe what you have observed, use the position description to identify expected behaviors, and indicate a shared commitment to finding a solution to the problem(s).

    Unfortunately, not everyone interested in working with your agency will be the best match. You have a responsibility to protect your clients and uphold the reputation and standards of your agency, which in some situations means letting the student know that the situation is not working and they need to find a new placement. When a situation such as this presents itself, know that the CCE can assist you in this process as well as work with the student to find an agency that will be a better fit. In order to address these situations in a timely manner, please contact CCE staff as soon as possible at 509-335-7708.

  • Reflection

    Reflection is a critical part of the learning experience for students as they process their community based experience and begin making connections to their coursework and add to their personal and professional development. View the Reflection page for more information.