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Community Engagement

One of the Urban and Community Studies (UCS) program objectives is to provide students with a variety of opportunities to become engaged in their community. By taking part in these opportunities, students gain valuable insight on the day to day issues facing communities, further enhancing their understanding of what is taught in the classroom, and in many cases providing them with life enriching experiences.

The UCS program offers students an array of events throughout the year to engage with their community. In the past the program has sponsored events at local organizations as part of a statewide or national day of volunteering. The program has sponsored trips to various cities, where students were given a tour of the city and met with local leaders to discuss the critical issues facing their community. Students have led events including registering voters in urban centers or organizing a charitable event for a local non-profit organization. The UCS program and the Department of Public Policy sponsor a speaker series each semester with topics ranging from public education, the economy, housing, discrimination, poverty and other public policy issues. The speaker series is open to the entire campus community, providing a wonderful opportunity to discuss the pressing issues facing our society with other students, faculty and guest speakers. These are just a sampling of events hosted in the past few years; on our events page you will find a listing of current events sponsored by the program.

The UCS program has also made it possible for students to take part in community engagement activities through their courses. The UCS program offers several courses that incorporate a service learning component, where students volunteer at local organizations to learn more about the inner workings of the organizations, the clients they serve and the challenges they face in servicing their clients. Students interested in a service learning experience should consider taking URBN 1300W "Exploring your Community." Other courses in the major may also offer service learning opportunities i.e., URBN 2000 "Intro to Urban and Community Studies."

Students are also encouraged to consider taking an internship assignment at a local agency or organization or enrolling in the Urban Semester program where they work and live in an urban environment for a semester. Students will find that taking advantage of the community engagement opportunities offered through the program will not only enhance their higher education experience but provide them with additional skills, a more in-depth understanding of the issues, and an opportunity to make valuable contacts in the community that they can build upon when they graduate from UConn.