Civic Engagement and Service

Civic Engagement and Service

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"
—Margaret Mead

Do you want to explore your talents and passions as related to any of the following areas:

  • public service
  • public policy
  • government
  • non-profits
  • advocacy
  • social activism?

If so, then you're in the right place! The Center for Student and Civic Engagement at Penn State Altoona is committed to providing opportunities for students to connect to the communities they are a part of while affecting positive growth and change- for both the student and the community!

What exactly does “civic engagement” mean? Civic Engagement refers to the ways in which citizens participate in the life of a community in order to improve conditions for others or to help shape the community's future.

Our office also adheres to the following definition of service: Service is "a philosophy and practice that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better communities, and ultimately creates a more just and caring world." - Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership

As part of our mission and values at Penn State, we believe it isn’t enough to simply graduate degree-holders. We want to produce citizen leaders for the world. We know our graduates spread out across the globe and when they do, we want them to take the Penn State Values with them! By offering opportunities for students to connect with the community in the City of Altoona and Blair County, we are giving them chances to practice those citizenship skills. Through experiences such as philanthropy, volunteering, service-learning, and civic participation, students will continue to evolve in their role as citizens and develop knowledge, skills, values, and motivation to be active participants in their community and lead lives of civic engagement.

Our goals are for students to:

  1. Discover and participate in different forms of civic engagement
  2. Understand what citizenship means and the relation to personal responsibility
  3. Identify and demonstrate empathy in order to understand self, others and community
  4. Recognize ability to empower others and self to make a difference

Civic Engagement Opportunities

College Organizations and Events

Academic Programs and Courses

Consider these intercollegiate minors:

Consider taking AYFCE 211: Applied Youth, Family and Community Education; talk to your academic advisor about it before enrolling

Community Organizations

Connect with the United Way of Blair County for more opportunities for service.

For more information or to get connected today, email

"A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in."
—Greek Proverb