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Civic Engagement Opportunities

Student Engagement is continually updating this page with opportunities for students to enhance their leadership skills and engage in their communities. The opportunities are organized by the 5 Pathways to Service. We hope to create a centralized place where students can find civic engagement opportunities. However, we do ask that prior to engagement, you perform your due diligence on the organization. Check back often to discover the many ways that you can get involved.

Direct Service

Global Impact Corps: Global Health Volunteer Abroad Opportunity

Join Unite For Sight’s Global Impact Corps for a hands-on, immersive and unique global health experience. A transformative volunteer abroad experience for students and professionals, Unite For Sight is renowned as the highest quality global health immersion and volunteer abroad program worldwide. Unite For Sight prides itself on offering the best global health experience for our volunteers, coupled with the highest quality healthcare delivery programs with our local doctor partners.

The Meatloaf Kitchen

Volunteer at The Meatloaf Kitchen! Morning shift duties include helping to prepare the meal, setting up the room for service, and serving a breakfast of pastries, coffee and fruit to our early arriving guests. Afternoon shifts, duties include greeting guests, serving food, bussing tables, dishwashing, and cleaning up. When you arrive, you will be assigned a task to work alongside one of our many experienced volunteers who will provide directions and answer any questions.

One-to-One Tutoring

One-to-One Tutoring is a Community Impact Organization at Columbia University that offers tutoring and mentoring for kids ages 6 to 12 each Saturday. As a tutor, you’ll meet with the same kid each week for an hour-and-a-half and help them with his/her math, reading, and homework completion skills. If you are interested in tutoring and developing a wonderful relationship with a tutee one-on-one, please consider our program! We accept new volunteers throughout the year, so if you – or any of your friends – are interested, email to get more info. Not ready to commit? Like us on on Facebook and follow our program's tutoring efforts!

Double Discovery Center

Tutor, Mentor and/or Lead a Club at the Double Discovery Center (DDC). Our tutors work one-on-one or in small groups with high school students weekday afternoons from 4PM to 6PM. Mentors advise high school students on the college application process and Club Leaders share their affinities with students who have similar interests. Most DDC students are the first in their families headed to college and count on DDC to fill the gaps in their secondary school learning experiences. You can enhance your learning, develop lasting ties, and make the difference in the education of deserving students. We are located in 306 Lerner and we can take new volunteers throughout the term.

NYC Department of Homeless Services: HOPE 2016: The N.Y.C. Street Survey

The Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE) is an annual estimate to assess the number of individuals living in New York City's public spaces. On the night of HOPE, thousands of volunteers are assembled and sent out in teams to survey New York's streets, subways and parks. Conducted by the NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS), HOPE is a point-in-time estimate of unsheltered individuals to project service needs, allocate resources for the street homeless population, and educate and engage New Yorkers. The event usually takes place in January from 10:30pm to 4am.

STAR Tutoring

Volunteers tutor students from low-income families who need help with reading, writing, math or other subjects. The students range in age from 2nd to 12th grade, and attend public and parochial schools across the city. About 70% of students come from families where Spanish is the primary language spoken at home. Once the tutor is matched, he/she receives an orientation, and then works one-on-one with the same student each week for two hours.  The Center is open for tutoring on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3 to 7 pm, and on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 3:30 to 6 pm. You do not need to speak Spanish for this position.  Interested volunteers should send an email to Deena Hellman 

Home Delivered Meals

Volunteers help deliver a meal, with hot and cold components, to the homebound frail and elderly living on the Upper Westside of Manhattan.  Our service area spans from 65th Street in the south to 110th Street north and from Central Park West to Riverside Drive.  The program is run Monday through Friday, and on Sunday, starting at 9:30am and ending around 12:00pm, or when all allotted meals are delivered.  Most volunteer delivery teams complete their deliveries within 2 hours but you should allocate about 2.5 hours for the service experience.  


Every week throughout the school year, over 1,000 New Yorkers spend their lunch hours travelling to nearby public schools and volunteering as reading mentors to elementary school students who are struggling to read. Our volunteers come from diverse backgrounds and professions, but they share a deep commitment to our mission and a strong affinity for our unique, workday volunteer platform.


StreetSquash is an after-school youth enrichment program that combines academic tutoring with squash instruction, community service and one-on-one mentoring. Columbia students play squash with the kids and also help them with their homework To volunteer e-mail :


National Organization for Women

The National Organization for Women advocates for the women and girls of New York by working to promote reproductive rights, secure women’s economic empowerment, and end violence and discrimination against women. With your help, we can do even more!

Planned Parenthood Activist Council

Planned Parenthood invites you to join the Activist Council! No prior knowledge or experience is necessary—just an interest in protecting and advancing reproductive rights. The Activist Council is for people who want to do pro-choice advocacy under the auspices of the Planned Parenthood of New York City Action Fund.

Become a Health Leads Advocate

Health Leads allows doctors to address patients' basic resource needs. With Health Leads, a doctor can "prescribe" food, housing, or other critical resources -- just as they would medication. Patients take their prescriptions to the clinic waiting room, where Health Leads' college volunteers are ready to connect them to these resources. Columbia University is one of Health Leads' university partners, therefore students are allowed to apply to be Health Leads Advocates. The experience will give you a chance to make a difference, and to be a part of healthcare in America during this critical and exciting time!

NYC Young Professionals Amnesty International

Young Professionals Amnesty International (YPAI) engages and supports Amnesty activists from diverse backgrounds entering the workplace. YPAI provides Amnesty and other human rights activists a space to network, organize, and contribute to the struggle for human rights in the U.S. and abroad.

Financial Stewardship

Run or Dye

At Run or Dye, you become part of the rainbow. As you run/walk/dance through the course, you will get showered in safe, eco-friendly, plant-based powdered dye at every kilometer...turning you into a technicolor canvas of fun! They host several runs in and around NYC. What does Run or Dye do for charity? Quite a bit, actually! As a for-profit company, some of their core values are service, leadership, and giving back to the community. That's why they work closely with a local charity in each of the cities where we hold events to ensure that the good they do can keep on going. They provide their non-profit partners with financial donations, embedded giving opportunities for a fun and profitable fundraiser, publicity and visibility at our events, and more.

Political Participation

West Side Campaign Against Hunger

West Side Campaign Against Hunger changes our perception of hungry people by working in partnership with them, providing food with dignity, and empowering customers to find solutions. West Side Campaign Against Hunger recognizes that it takes more than direct service to end hunger in the long run. To that end, they participate in political advocacy on local, state and federal levels. Whenever possible they include customers and volunteers in advocacy campaigns, empowering them to make change in their communities.

CUNY Citizenship Now! Volunteer Corps

The CUNY/NYC Citizenship Now! Volunteer Corps is the only large-scale, university-based volunteer initiative in the country providing immigrants with free citizenship application assistance. It is a growing community of New Yorkers from all backgrounds who are passionate about immigrant's rights, immigration law, and service to the public. Volunteers Corps members have the opportunity to participate in Citizenship Now! Events and make a contribution to society by empowering New York City's immigrant communities. At these events, you will assist eligible legal permanent residents with their applications for naturalization at no charge.

Engaged Scholarship

The Barnard/Columbia Design for America Studio

The Barnard/Columbia Design for America Studio (DFA) is part of national network of passionate young thinkers and activists revolutionizing the way college students engage with and improve the world around us. As an interdisciplinary team of motivated student social entrepreneurs from all academic backgrounds, DFA teams up with faculty members, community nonprofits, and NYC design professionals to solve pressing issues in our area concerning health, education, and the environment. We are moving beyond the classroom to harness the next generation of innovators, using our energy and resources as college students to design and implement local sustainable projects with global applications.

Student Engagement


515 Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Call: 212-854-3611

Fax: 212-854-6972

Office Hours
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.