The Center for College and Community Engagement

Pursue a purposeful life.

At Alma, transformation happens in the classroom and in the community. Find purpose, deepen your connections and be a part of building a just and sustainable world.

Founded in 2021, the Center for College and Community Engagement (3CE) offers you opportunities to engage, learn and grow in partnership with the local community. You might mentor local youth, serve meals at the Community Cafe or support ecological restoration during an Alternative Break. In the classroom, you’ll deepen your understanding of social justice and civic engagement through your coursework. In doing so, you’ll learn how to be an agent of change, empowering you to pursue a purposeful life.


Community Engagement

At Alma, we promote a scaffolded approach to community engagement. You’ll participate in direct service during your first year, focusing on food security, education, housing, environmental stewardship or diversity, equity and inclusion.

In your second and third years, you’ll dig deeper into the issues you’re addressing, bringing your learning into the classroom. You’ll graduate with the skills necessary to create sustained, impactful change.

Alternative Breaks

Alternative Breaks allow you to learn about social justice issues while engaging in direct, hands-on service in regional and global communities.

Alternative Breaks span a broad range of themes, issues and locations. You might assist with conservation efforts at Joshua Tree National Park and then volunteer to maintain local trails and nature areas. You could join mid-Michigan partners working to alleviate food insecurity or travel to support disaster relief efforts.

No matter what your interest is, there is an Alternative Break opportunity for you!

Community-Engaged Learning

In community-engaged courses developed by Alma faculty in collaboration with 3CE, you’ll dive into fundamental civic questions and examine sustainable solutions and explore how we can better meet societal needs.

You’ll explore topics like public advocacy and environmental stewardship. And you’ll build skills like research, volunteer management and program development, preparing you for a lifetime of leadership.

Internship and Job Opportunities

Through 3CE-sponsored internships, you’ll apply everything you’re learning in the classroom and community to build capacity for a local nonprofit or agency.

You’ll gain insight into how community organizations function and develop problem-solving, critical thinking and communications skills that will equip you to make an even greater impact.

Academic Service Learning

Academic service learning courses include meaningful community service, a clear connection between course objectives and service activities and structured opportunities for reflection for the enhancement of academic learning. Many courses include a service learning component, and you can register for these courses through the standard registration process.

Through academic service learning courses, Alma College students serve the community in a variety of ways. Here are just a few examples of students providing service locally and globally:

  • Teaching poetry to elderly residents and prison inmates
  • Designing curricula for community programs
  • Administering aerobic exercise and strength training programs to senior citizens
  • Volunteering for Habitat for Humanity
  • Hosting a Spanish Story Hour at the local library
  • Supervising after-school programs
  • Assisting with child immunization programs
  • Participating in service experiences in Honduras, India, Jamaica, Mexico, and Poland

Turn Your Passion into a Profession

With your service learning experience, you can enter a variety of graduate programs and find a career related to your experiences, as well as volunteering in the communities around you. Alma College service learning alums have gone on to:

  • Study public policy at the University of Chicago, environmental law at Vermont Law School, and medicine at Michigan State University
  • Teach around the country
  • Direct public environmental agencies
  • Provide health services in understaffed rural and urban areas through National Service Programs

Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to volunteer, but how do I get involved?

Members of the mid-Michigan community can find and sign up for volunteer opportunities on the Golden platform which is managed by the local branch of the United Way. Download the Golden app or visit Sign up for the app using your Alma College email address and add Alma College as an affiliation so that you can track your volunteer hours toward your campus goals and we can share invitations and updates to volunteer events host by or affiliated with the college.

I’ve got an idea for a service project. How do I get it off the ground?

We believe in student empowerment! So if you have the time and are committed to your idea, the 3CE staff will partner with you to make it a reality. The majority of our service projects are initiated and coordinated by students and student organizations who engage with a community partner. 3CE will be glad to connect you to other students, faculty, staff, community partners, and funding sources that may be interested in your idea.

What kind of volunteer opportunities are out there?

The 3CE Office offers community service work study jobs, assists with local volunteer placements and supports special service event/projects on campus; including but not limited to: Alternative Break, College Positive Volunteers, Community Café Partnership, Red Cross Blood Drives & Bone Marrow Registrations, Kid’s Night Out, Make a Difference Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Relay for Life.

Contact Us

Co-Directors of 3CE

Carla Jensen
(989) 463-7421

Ben Peterson
(989) 463-7291