What Civic Engagement Opportunities Can Be Tracked at WSU?
What is Civic Engagement?
To be civically engaged means to actively participate in community/society to improve quality of life. It also involves the process of developing the skills, knowledge, and motivation to make that difference.
Characteristics of Civic Engagement at Washington State University
- Meets community-identified need and/or advances the work of a non-profit or public organization other than WSU
- Benefits an underserved population (other than family, friends or WSU students) and/or serves the public good
- Requires a non-paid commitment of time/effort
- Does not support or incite violence, hatred, or discrimination
- Does not replace or compete with an existing campus service
- Does not actively promote a specific faith or solely serve members of a religious group or political organization (see "Statement on Civic Engagement with Faith-based and Political Organizations" below)
- Does not provide direct financial benefit to a for-profit organization
Requirements to Be Tracked on CougSync
- All activities are pre-identified and approved by the CCE
- Participation can be verified by a supervisor, advisor, or pre-approved student leader
Why Track Your Civic Engagement on CougSync?
Tracking your civic engagement will allow you to demonstrate your community involvement, as well as personal and professional growth, on your resume. These records will enhance your scholarship, graduate school, and job applications.
What Types of Civic Engagement Can Be Tracked on CougSync?
- Direct Service: Hands-on community service, primarily off campus, e.g. tutoring, environmental restoration, senior companionship
- Capacity Building: Enhancing the organizational capacity of a community agency, school, or non-profit organization, e.g. web design, marketing, strategic planning
- Advocacy: Raising awareness of issues; political participation; influencing public opinion and/or policy, e.g. CCE public forums, voter registration, campaigns
- Community Based Research: Research that is done in collaboration with the community to benefit underserved populations and/or the public good
- Philanthropy: Organizing and coordinating fundraising activities for causes and community organizations
Please note that not all civic engagement can be tracked. The CCE reserves the right to determine the best way to track and record civic engagement such that it is consistent and fair for all WSU students. If it is important that your civic engagement be tracked as hours, please consult with a CCE peer mentor to select your project.
The mission of the CCE involves providing students with opportunities off campus, connecting with issues of our communities and society, and so the CCE does not host or track campus engagement activities that are primarily for the benefit of students at WSU. On-campus activities such as peer mentoring or trainings can be tracked on CougSync by department, so while the CCE does not track these campus-based activities, participation in these activities can be recorded on the CougSync co-curricular transcript.
Statement on Civic Engagement with Faith-Based and Political Organizations
Washington State University is a public institution. As such, institutional activities, including those of departments such as the Center for Civic Engagement, must serve a secular and non-partisan purpose.
A comprehensive definition of civic engagement includes all the ways that citizens contribute to the quality of life in the communities in which we live, including political action as well as service to faith-based communities. Participation in partisan politics and/or religious activity can be a critical part of the civic identity of WSU students.
However, the mandate of the public institution requires that the CCE not engage in the promotion of specific political parties or religions. Therefore, the CCE cannot affiliate with political groups and religious institutions for those purposes, for example, a political campaign for public office. The CCE can affiliate with groups that provide a secular or non-partisan service to the general public, for example, a church that hosts a community food bank or a government/community group promoting voter registration.
All civic engagement activity by WSU students who hope to track their experiences in CougSync must be approved by the CCE in advance. Students who wish to engage with a faith-based group or political party may need to find an alternate way to track those experiences if documentation is required. Students are encouraged to bring their questions to a CCE peer mentor (CUB L45, 509-335-1661 or firstname.lastname@example.org).