Kalamazoo College is a proud member of the Kalamazoo community and strives to teach our students to be enlightened leaders who work to promote justice, equity and sustainability. Accordingly, community engagement is a cornerstone of the K-Plan with experiential education requirements that enable students to directly apply their studies in Kalamazoo.
To help foster relationships between students and Kalamazoo, the Mary Jane Underwood Stryker Center for Civic Engagement and the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership connect students with community partners.
By the Numbers
a majority of students participate in community engagement through the Center for Civic Engagement
Student-Led Community Programs
Community Building Internships
Kalamazoo Community Partners
Community Engagement News
- A nonpartisan initiative is saluting Kalamazoo College as one of 394 U.S. institutions doing the most in higher education to […]
- A Community Building Internship through the Center for Civic Engagement helped Anna Canales ’23 serve her community and find a […]
- Three employees and the Mary Jane Underwood Center for Civic Engagement received honors Friday at K’s Founders Day event, marking […]
- The CCE offers diverse opportunities for students seeking a leadership role in engaging with the local community as a civic […]
- A theatrical performance at Kalamazoo College that shares student interviews with members of the Southwest Michigan community will explore the […]
Learn Outside of the Classroom
K prides itself on teaching students in actionable ways so that they can immediately apply their knowledge outside of the classroom. Accordingly, many courses consist of experiential, community-based learning components. Students in these classes partner with local organizations to apply their studies for the good of the community. Past service-learning courses had students:
- Write and publish a picture book with an elementary school student
[PSYC 460: Social Development]
- Work with Spanish-speaking healthcare providers and clients to learn Spanish medical vocabulary and cultural differences in healthcare
[SPAN 205: Culture of Health and Disease in the Hispanic Community]
- Connect with people on the spectrum while learning about how autism is portrayed in media, medical circles, and public discourse
[SEMN 136: Crossing Borders: Autism and Other Ways of Knowing]
Cultivating Global Citizenship: Integrative Cultural Projects
An Integrative Cultural Project (ICRP) is an internship or community project built into the study abroad experience. These projects help students learn about their host countries’ cultures, develop language skills and make meaningful connections with locals. ICRPs typically last at least a month and involve students partnering with local organizations. Past ICRPs include:
- Assisting an AIDs research clinic in Nairobi, Kenya
- Hosting a radio talk show in Erlangen, Germany
- Working at an LGBTQIA+ Center in Quito, Equator
Get Paid to Make a Difference
Students who qualify for work-study or are first-generation college students are eligible to work for the Center for Civic Engagement, the largest employer on campus, and get paid for their community building. Other students are more than welcome to volunteer their time.
Civic Engagement Scholars
Over 200 students per year engage with community partners, working with youth leadership and arts organizations, government programs, public schools, and advocacy groups. Each program—while partnered with the Center for Civic Engagement staff—is completely student-organized, with options to work in children’s development, community organizing, social justice and government programming.
Summer Community Building Internships
Over the summer, the Center for Civic Engagement sponsors 25 paid, community-building internships for students to stay in Kalamazoo and work at local nonprofits and municipal groups full-time for six to ten weeks. Below is a small sampling of the organizations students can apply to work with:
- The City of Kalamazoo
- Michigan Immigrant Rights Center
- Building Blocks of Kalamazoo
Join a Coalition of Activists
The Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership
The Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership is a space for students, faculty, staff and community members to work together to develop and sustain leaders in human rights and social justice through education and capacity-building. Arcus enacts that mission by training student fellows, bringing in renowned speakers to share their knowledge, and hosting workshops for the greater Kalamazoo community. See the Arcus Center website for information on upcoming events and opportunities.