Next steps for students

  1. Register for community engagement course
  2. Register for a community engagement position (or fill out the self-placement form)
    • Sign up in EXPO (Must use google chrome and be logged in as UW google account)
      • As you select a position, please pay close attention to things like schedule, orientation date, and required vaccinations or forms of identification!
    • You will automatically sign an acknowledgment of risk form while registering 
  3. After receiving confirmation email, follow the position description details to arrange an orientation.
    • Unless stated otherwise in the orientation details section of the position in EXPO, introduce yourself – you can use this template to help write your first email. Please check EXPO, some organizations do ask that you not email and instead follow an organization specific onboarding process – often with a seperate set of forms.
    • Check details for your orientation.
  4. Complete your community engagement experience
    • Please plan to stay engaged in a weekly pattern of volunteering through week 10 of the quarter
    • Questions? Reach out to
    • When community engagement experience is completed, your on-site supervisor will complete an online evaluation of your community-engaged learning commitment, to be shared with your course instructor
    • Share feedback about your experience: 

Frequently asked questions

Self-placements can be used to meet the community-engaged learning requirement for your course only if you meet the following criteria:

  1. Have a PRE-EXISTING volunteer relationship with a non-profit or government organization
  2. The nature of your community engagement work aligns with the learning goals of your course
  3. Have instructor and site supervisor approval of self-placement to be used for your community-engaged learning requirement

If you meet all three criteria, you may submit a * self-placement form.

*Please note: we require the name and contact information of your supervisor to approve the position. If the form does not allow you to select your supervisor, please add this information in one of the later text entry boxes. 

Background checks are not required for all community-engaged learning positions – but they are for some. The specific background check that is run and the specific criminal convictions that will be disqualifying vary, depending on the site. The position description will list the specific items that are required to run the background check at their organization. See our background checks and mandatory reporting page for even more detail. 

International students, undocumented students, and students with past convictions are eligible to participate, contact us to learn more.

Every student who participates in community-engaged learning must complete an acknowledgement of risk (AOR) form. Students who are 18+ have completed the form as part of registering for a position in EXPO. If you are not yet 18 years old, you and a guardian must complete this AOR form through DocuSign

Your site supervisor may be balancing multiple projects and responsibilities.  Allow 24-36 hours before reaching out to them for a second time.  Keep in mind most organizations work regular business hours so you will need to allow extra time for a response if you contact your organization over the weekend.  We recommend utilizing both phone and e-mail to get in touch with your organization.  If you have tried the above-listed solutions and are still having trouble, please email so that we can support you in your outreach.

Check your course syllabus to determine whether community-engaged learning is an optional or required component of your course.  If you are in a course with optional community-engaged learning and you choose to drop your commitment, contact your site supervisor, your course instructor, and the Community-Engaged Courses staff ( about your decision.  If you are considering dropping community-engaged learning but are unsure, feel free to talk with your course instructor or a member of the CEC staff – we might be able to help address your concerns.

It is important to make this decision very early in the quarter in order to ensure organizations have a clear idea of students that will be making a commitment to their organization at the outset of the quarter.

Think less about ‘hours needed’ and more about your commitment and consistency. Most community-engaged learning commitments involve a commitment of volunteering each week from the second week of the quarter through the last week of classes, depending on the organization’s logistics and needs. These commitments range from three to five hours each week, but may vary depending on the expectations that you and your community partner organization mutually agree upon. 

Carefully review the organization’s expectations in your position description and have a conversation with your site supervisor at the beginning of the quarter to determine the exact amount of time you will need to commit to the organization. 

Unless stated by the organization, your community-engaged learning experience should not be truncated into a short period of time; rather, your commitment should last for the duration of the academic quarter, in order to maximize the experience and impact of your efforts.

Yes. With the approval from both of your instructors, students can complete one community-engaged learning commitment and have it count toward two community-engaged classes. This arrangement will require you to reflect upon your community-engaged learning experience through multiple lenses similar to having one text assigned to two courses. If you plan to use one community-engaged learning commitment for two courses, register for one position. Then email the CELE Center at letting us know your intentions and that you have your instructors’ approval. We will administratively register your community-engaged learning site to both courses so that both instructors will be aware of your placement and receive a final evaluation from your site supervisor at the end of the quarter.

Community-engaged learning students who will be serving with youth or vulnerable adults are mandated reporters of abuse and neglect under Chapter 26.44 of the Revised Code of Washington.

This is great! If you are interested in continuing to work with your community-engaged learning organization after the quarter’s end, be in touch with your site supervisor to discuss the details of continued volunteering.

The CELE Center offers a number of resources for students involved in volunteer work in the community. General Studies 350 allows students to earn academic credit for community-based internships. Throughout the year, the Mary Gates Endowment has scholarships available for students engaged in community-based leadership. Finally, visit the CEC courses offered to view courses that will offer a community-engaged learning component in the upcoming quarter.