Center for Civic Engagement

Learn, serve and lead with passion.

We connect you with opportunities to learn, serve and lead with passion. Our partnerships with community and campus organizations help you broaden your perspectives, build relationships, and develop skills to help you succeed in and out of the classroom - all while giving back. Be a part of the next generation of thought leaders committed to a just and equitable world. 

Our Programs

Serve the community. Expand your perspectives. Look at old problems in new ways. This is what we help you do at the Center for Civic Engagement.
  • Bonner Leader Program

    Bonner Leaders are part of a diverse community of passionate students ready to engage in the world through service. They combine education, service and reflection to become changemakers.

    What is it? 

    A selective, four-year civic leadership development program. 

    How does it work?

    Students receive annual scholarship awards in exchange for a weekly 10-hour commitment to meaningful service with a local community organization during the academic year.

    Ready to apply? 

    Bonner Leader Program applications for incoming 2024-2025 freshmen are now open. Click here to start your application or email us at for more information. Completed applications are due by Sunday, June 2, 2024, at 11:59 pm.

    More about Bonner Leaders
  • Alternative Break (AB)

    Our Alternative Break program helps you grow as a civic leader and changemaker. Along the way, you'll develop skills, confidence and a broader world view - important tools for lifelong success.  Focused on social justice issues and rooted in education, service and reflection, our Alternative Break trips give you hands-on opportunities to learn, serve and lead in new and unexpected ways. In recent years, students have:

    • Explored cultural preservation through drum circles of the Quileute Tribe in La Push, Washington;
    • Helped build sustainable and affordable housing in North Carolina; and
    • Actively engaged in sea turtle protection in Zakynthos, Greece, while taking a close look at the connection between commerce and conservation.

    No matter the destination, our Alternative Break students share common goals to broaden the scope of their college experience and gain a lifelong passion for civic engagement.

    Current students can visit The Hub to learn more about applying for Alternative Break.

  • Pop-Up Service

    Every month, we partner with a local community organization to help them complete a ‘mini project’ on campus. Join us for a few minutes or a few hours to help these non-profits thrive, whether we’re building STEM kits for area preschoolers, assembling snack bags for families at the nearby Ronald McDonald House or making scarves for the unhoused to help them cut out the cold. Another way to learn, serve and lead with passion. 

    Current students can visit the Hub or Cougar Connect for more information on our upcoming Pop-Up Service events. 

  • Volunteer Opportunities

    Local volunteer opportunities are abundant all year long. Follow us on Instagram for updates on organizations looking for an extra set of hands for a few hours or even through the semester. Here’s a sample of local community organizations our students and staff have served: 

    Here are a few local, national and international organizations that are interested in virtual volunteers:

  • Community Partners

    Are you a Charleston-area non-profit organization looking for ongoing or semester-long volunteers? Do you have an upcoming event that needs a few extra hands? Do you need help promoting your volunteer event on campus? We can help you get the word out. Send us an email at and a member of our team will be in touch.