» About Civic Engagement Initiatives

Civic Engagement Initiatives inspires students to see themselves as part of the larger social fabric and to be informed and active citizens in our local, national, and global communities.  CEI creates experiences wherein students develop the knowledge, skills, and motivation they need for responsible engagement in our diverse society.

Civic Engagement Initiatives programs, resources, and services are designed to:

  • increase students' disposition to be active in public issues,
  • increase students' civic literacy about problems of/in democracy,
  • increase the number of students voting in presidential elections, and
  • increase students' capacity for perspective-taking.

Voter Friendly Campus - Chapman University has earned Voter Friendly Campus designation through NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and Campus Vote Project (CVP). This distinction has been received since the launch of the recognition program in 2016. In order to receive designation, campuses had to design, implement, and assess a plan for voter registration, voter education, ballot access, and voter turnout. The goal of the Voter Friendly Campus designation program is to bolster efforts that help students overcome barriers to participating in the political process and develop a culture of democratic engagement on campus.

NASPA Lead Institution - Since 2012, Chapman University has been selected to participate in a national initiative on civic learning and democratic engagement. The University was been named one of the 70 colleges and universities in the nation as an inaugural Lead Institution by NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, the leading voice for the student affairs profession.

In addition to participating in the larger project, Chapman University has assumed greater leadership roles with by serving as a Lead Consulting Institution (LCI) and Lead Advising Institution (LAI).  When a Lead Consulting Institution, Civic Engagement Initiatives staff served as mentors and a resource for other Lead Institutions.  While Chapman is currently a Lead Advising Institution, Civic Engagement Initiatives staff assist NASPA staff in creating and executing strategy, programming, and content for the initiative on civic learning and democratic engagement.

To learn more about NASPA’s Lead Initiative and view a complete listing of participating institutions, please visit the NASPA website.

In 2011, the Office of the Provost and Civic Engagement Initiatives developed the following definitions for Chapman University to guide relevant curricular and co-curricular efforts: 

Volunteerism - In volunteerism, students donate their time through providing assistance to activities or events that benefit a cause, institution, or organization, whether on- or off-campus. In volunteerism, the primary emphasis is on the assistance being provided.

Community Service - In community service, students donate their time (usually through participation in intentionally-designed experiences) to provide assistance to an off-campus community need or non-profit/public service organization/agency that directly serves an area/population of the community. In community service, the primary emphasis is on enabling students to provide either direct or indirect assistance to the community, through short or long-term involvement, while enhancing their awareness of community needs and sense of community engagement.

Service Learning - In service-learning, students learn from active involvement with community projects and organizations. They contribute skills and knowledge to community needs while integrating the experiential knowledge they gain with their academic studies. Service-learning helps students transcend classroom boundaries and traditional forms of learning, resulting in the development of mutually rewarding civic ties and enhanced social understanding.