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Center for Community Engagement & Service

Students have the opportunity to engage in community service through the Center for Community Engagement & Service. CCES provides support, resources, and ongoing opportunities for students to participant in community service and volunteer activities in the Washington, DC area.

Students who are at AU for a full academic year (Fall-Spring) or Spring semester are able to apply for Alternative Break programs, which allows students to work during school breaks with community initiatives that address global and local social justice issues.

Student Experiences

Dursun Halimova American University in Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan

Dursun did community service work with Best Buddies throughout her year on Abroad at AU. Twice a month she, and other Best Buddies, would spend time with disabled adults both on and off campus. Dursun's buddy was Susie. Together they would do activities like arts & crafts, play games, celebrate different holidays and birthdays, go to the zoo, go bowling and watch AU sporting events like girl's basketball. In addition to getting together to do activities they also exchange letters and postcards every week. Dursun enjoyed partnering with Susie and the other buddies. She feels she gained more than she gave. She was inspired by all the buddies simplicity, kindness friendliness and sincerity. Each meeting would leave Dursun with great excitement and joy.

Matías Sardiña University of the Republic of Montevideo, Uruguay

As an International Studies student from Uruguay some of Matías' favorite things about DC's are its diversity and countless opportunities for community service. He took full advantage of AU's Community Service Center to find the right organization with which to volunteer. The Center offers workshops and interviews with professionals to help student identify their interests and make the best decision. He focused on education and become a DC READS tutor. The program is aimed at improving the reading skills of public elementary school students in Washington, DC. The process of helping elementary school students was not only inspiring but also eye-opening since it gave him the change to interact and get to know children from very different backgrounds. Matías' felt he gained just as much from his community service experience as he contributed. Working with school children he was able to learn more about the DC community outside of the university campus.

Maria Pia Benosa University of the Philippines, The Philippines

Within her first few weeks as a student at American University, Pia had not only toured the most happening places in DC, she had also gotten to know them better by doing community service. First, she was a volunteer for the Kennedy Center for the Arts during its annual Open House Arts Festival, helping manage guests and promote its various musical, dance and theatrical events. Next, she was at the Adams Morgan Day Festival, helping set up the cultural stage where artists and performers commune to pump life and music into D.C.’s longest running street festival. Pia is extremely grateful for the opportunities that are available to her in D.C., which are many and easy to find. Pia has found that while the opportunity to help others has been inspiring, her community service activities have also allowed her to interact with a diverse range of Americans outside the university experience. She was able to listen to their life stories and share her own insights with them from her perspective as an international student.

Joshua Worger Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, Germany

Joshua with the two students he mentored.

During his semester at American University, Joshua volunteered as a mentor with FLY (Facilitating Leadership in Youth) in southeast Washington, D.C. As a tutor and mentor for two youths, Joshua enjoyed helping them increase their academic, as well as, personal capabilities. "My experience with FLY was one of the most exciting and enriching at American University", he said. In addition to tutoring sessions, he built strong personal relationships with the youths, taking them to such places as an Easter Party at American University.