Community engaged learning

CELE Center facilitates opportunities that integrate authentic community partnerships with instruction and critical reflection, strengthen communities, enrich the student learning experience and teach civic and social responsibility.  

Community engaged courses

Community-engaged courses combines service in the community with structured preparation and reflection opportunities, and address concerns that are identified and articulated by the community.

From student participants: 

Undergraduate Community-Based Internships

Undergraduate Community Based Internships (UCBI) connects undergraduates with nonprofit and public sector organizations through a paid internship and mentoring program.

UCBI Participant stories:

UCBI participant, Bella Wright, reflects on her time at her internship site: 

Click on the first image to read about UCBI Intern, Aden Afework, and her work

Leadership education

Through the study of leadership concepts, hands-on practice and critical reflection, students develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to be contributing members in their communities.   

Minor in Leadership

The Minor in Leadership provides a formalized pathway for students to study and develop competencies for leadership in their professional and public lives.

Husky Leadership Certificate

The Husky Leadership Certificate (HLC) program is designed to facilitate student reflection on their leadership learning and development through mentorship and the creation of a leadership e-portfolio.

Student Portfolios: 

Darcy Rees:

Toni Kolade:

NextGen Civic Leader Corps

The UW NextGen Civic Leader Corps (NextGen) is a growing community of undergraduate students who are passionate about public service, community engagement and civic leadership. Through a combination of events, networking experiences and coursework, NextGen connects like-minded peers and aims to deepen a commitment to public service.

Through NextGen programming, students had the opportunity to engage in discussions with Pulitzer Winning Prize author and journalist Isabel Wilkerson, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee as well as Washington State justices and legislators.

Democracy Dawgs

Democracy Dawgs is a coalition of students, staff, faculty, community members, and civic leaders who are working to increase student voting rates and build an even stronger culture of civic and democratic engagement at the University of Washington.

UW was awarded the 2022 All-In Campus Democracy Challenge's Highly Established Action Plean Seal. Learn more. 

Pre-K-12 Student Success

Through mentoring, tutoring and post-secondary planning, CELE Center programs partner with schools and communities for education equity.   


Jumpstart recruits and trains UW students who provide language, social-emotional, and literacy programming in preschool classrooms that serve children and families from historically under-resourced communities and promote quality early learning for all children.

Hear about the Jumpstart experience:

CELE K-12 Tutors and Mentors

The CELE K-12 Tutors and Mentors program provide opportunities for UW students to mentor, tutor and support K-12 students through post-secondary planning and academic tutoring.

Read about the experience K-12 Mentors and Tutors had during their time:

America Reads

America Reads engages UW students as tutors in Seattle elementary schools, helping address inequities in public education in Washington State.

What was the experience like?

College and Career Readiness Assistants

Dream Project's College and Career Readiness Assistants (CCRA) is a paid internship program where UW students support traditionally underserved students in navigating barriers to post-secondary education opportunities.

Learn from the CCRA's themselves: 

Site Supervisor Shout-Outs:

  • From Auburn Mountainview HS site supervisor about CCRA Jannat Musawi:
    • Jannat has been amazing in the career center since day 1!!  She connects well with students and families and is willing to help students with all college and career pursuits.  She has been instrumental in helping us to have the highest FAFSA completion rate that we have ever had at this time of the year.  She also helps with college applications, college essay revision, and field trips.  We are so very appreciative!
  • From Kent-Meridian HS site supervisor about CCRA Jax Wokas:
    • Would love to shout out Jax for connecting with students and always making sure their needs are met. Jax has been taking the lead in our weekly GEAR UP hangout, and always making interactive lessons for students to learn more about college and career readiness.. His consistency with our students has helped bring more students to our weekly hangouts.
  • From Rainier Prep site supervisor about CCRA Ahtziri Guzman:
    • Ahtziri has done a beautiful job of creating and maintaining a scholarship database for our alums in high school. She consolidates the scholarships found in the weekly WSAC emails into bite sized information that she emails weekly to our alums. She is detailed in her work and is clearly passionate about helping students afford education after high school.
Riverways Education Partnerships: STEM

Riverways' STEM engagement programs inspire the leadership, learning capacities, and interest in science & engineering among the youth of Washington State.

Culture And Science Exchange (CASE): 

Culture And Science Exchange (CASE) is a close partnership with the Yakama Nation. We intentionally provide STEM engagement opportunities to Indigenous students to counteract the minoritization we see in STEM fields. This year we collaborated to co-create culturally sustaining modules. 

STEM Alternative Spring Break (ASB):

STEM Alternative Spring Break connects UW students with K-12 students in rural and tribal communities in Washington state through science and engineering outreach programming.

Riverways Education Partnership: Literacy Arts

Literacy Arts Alternative Spring Break (LASB) engaged UW students to facilitate a literacy arts project with elementary, middle or high school students in rural and tribal communities in Washington during spring break.

Click on Every Place Tells a Story to view the 2023 LASB magainze

Place-based initiatives

Through sustained and mutually beneficial partnerships, place-based initiatives connect the UW with local and regional communities in the ongoing and collective efforts to advance equity in education, health and economic opportunities.   

Riverways Guides

The Riverways Guides program recruits Native and rural UW students to mentor and guide K-12 students from tribal communities and support partnerships between the UW and community colleges.

Neah Bay Telling our Stories

Telling our Stories is a year-long mentorship program that connects Native UW undergraduates with Neah Bay fifth graders, encouraging them to envision their futures.

Watch the 2023 video that the UW mentors compiled documenting the year here.


Othello-UW Commons

The Othello-UW Commons is a learning and collaboration space for faculty, staff, students and community partners that builds on the UW's long standing engagement with and commitment to the greater Southeast Seattle communities.

Click the photo above to view Othello-Commons 2022-2023 Impact Report!

Tent City

From December 2022 to March 2023, the UW hosted Tent City 3 for the third time. Tent City 3 is an organized community of individuals experiencing homelessness. 

While the University acknowledges that tent cities are not a permanent solution to homelessness, we recognize that a partnership with Tent City 3 is aligned with our public service mission and offers opportunities for the UW community to engage with the issues and people directly impacted by our region's housing and homelessness crisis.  

The CELE Center worked to connect student organizations and courses with the Tent City 3 leadership and played a significant role in managing logistics during the stay.

Learn more about Tent City 3 here.

Click the image above to view a Zine created by the residents of Tent City 3.