Skip Navigation
Kalamazoo College

About Us

“In my everyday life, my experience doing service learning helps me to develop meaningful relationships, communicate well, understand greater social issues that affects individuals at various levels and apply myself as a global scholar and leader.” – Mysha Clarke, K’13

The Center for Civic Engagement (formerly The Institute for Service-Learning) was established in 2001 with an endowment from Trustee Ronda Stryker and her husband, Bill Johnston to honor her grandmother, Mary Jane Underwood Stryker. 

Since its founding, the Center for Civic Engagement, through service-learning courses and student-led programs, has engaged over 5500 K College students in long-term, reciprocal partnerships to foster academic learning, critical problem-solving,  and a lifetime of civic engagement while strengthening the community.  They have worked with thousands of community residents, over 50 different organizations, and  in more than 30 different community-based courses.   

About two thirds of Kalamazoo College students work in the community every year, most through service-learning courses. Also, students earn minimum wage through federal work-study, or work as “volunteers” committing at least two hours per week throughout the term. Our co-curricular programs are coordinated (and frequently designed) by “K” student leaders, who hold CCE Civic Engagement Scholarships.

Critical thinking and activism makes these co-curricular service-learning experiences a vital part of the K Plan.  These programs both benefit from and provide scaffolding for other elements of the K Plan, especially the Senior Individualized Project (SIP) and Integrative Cultural Research Project (ICRP, on study abroad), which complement and/or cap outstanding community-based learning experiences that span the four years of a Kalamazoo College education.  Increasingly, thanks to endowed scholarships, students are also able to weave into their K Plans experiences like summer community-based research, internships and externships that focus on social justice and community change.