Civic Engagement

group photo
Students participate in Civic Engagement retreat

Civic Engagement 

Built upon the foundations of Wellesley’s motto, Non Ministrari Sed Ministrare, Civic Engagement explores the role of social justice work across all majors and career fields. The Civic Engagement program works to prepare Wellesley graduates to make a difference in the world. We offer opportunities to engage in sustained, collaborative, reflective, and meaningful ways that enrich a liberal arts education.  

Ethical civic engagement develops a set of skills that every student will take with them into their future careers. Wellesley’s legacy of alums who have made a difference in the world is a tapestry of connections between leaders in business, science, medicine, law, education, and the arts, just to name a few. Through civic engagement, Wellesley students can develop the skills and courage to embark as change agents on those roads less traveled in their respective fields. No matter where they land after Wellesley, Civic Engagement will have given them a laboratory to practice leaving a space better than how they originally found it. 

Explore Ways to Get Involved

2020 has been a year unlike any other. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced us to rethink our work within Civic Engagement in every way imaginable. While showing up for our communities has rarely seemed so important, it has also never been harder. Civic Engagement was built on a foundation of being physically present in communities, and while there are still many opportunities to volunteer remotely, Covid-19 chips away at that foundation. Alternative Breaks, daily trips off-campus to volunteer, and large gatherings like Blood Drives are no longer a safe option for our Wellesley campus community or many of our community partners. 

In recognition of these realities, Civic Engagement is shifting to a new model to engage more students than we ever have before. For the 2020 - 2021 academic year we will not offer our typical programming including: Alternative Breaks, weekly volunteer opportunities near Wellelsey’s campus, or many one day events. We are instead launching a series of new programs: a community immersion experience designed just for Sophomores, an expanded peer leadership network through Ministrare Council, and the Presidential Scholars civic leadership community for rising juniors. This model will let us reach every Wellesley student who wants to participate in Civic Engagement before they graduate and build a community committed to long term, systemic social change. 

Presidential Scholars civic leadership community (for rising juniors)

At Wellesley, service is leadership. The Presidential Scholars program is an opportunity for Wellesley students, starting in their junior and continuing through their senior year, to focus intensively on civic engagement. Through a reflective co-curricular model that brings together academics and community engagement, Presidential Scholars will actively engage with communities beyond Wellesley’s campus through internships and volunteer opportunities to develop a civic lens, forming authentic relationships within their cohort and community in the process. Scholars will develop critical skills in social change work, active listening, effective advocacy, critical thinking, and empathic citizenship.

Systemic social change is the work of a lifetime and requires long term commitment to dismantling systems of oppression. The Scholars program is designed as an entry point to that long term change work for every student. Learn more through the resource below!

Sophomore Community Engagement Experience (January Project 2021)

The Sophomore Community Engagement Experience (January Project 2021), led and facilitated by the Ministrare Council, gives the sophomore class the opportunity to engage in community-based learning, guided reflection, and peer community development. Through this reflective, peer-led model, sophomores can actively engage with communities beyond Wellesley’s campus — virtually or in person — to learn about the skills and relationships that ground social change. The program will support sophomores in beginning to consider what skills are needed to be active listeners, effective advocates, critical thinkers, and empathic citizens. Sophomores will identify their own community partners in areas of interest in their home communities or in virtual spaces. Students can begin to register their community experiences on WEngage beginning November 16th.

Anti-racist work in Civic Engagement

Civic Engagement’s model of service focuses on community based learning. This means that students should be learning about communities from communities, and that service is led by the needs of our partner organizations. In order for us to be successful in this method, our most important work is to remain dedicated students of anti-racism, LGBTQIA+ pride, and intersectional social change movements. Our staff and student leaders work collaboratively to resist the types of service that paint volunteers as saviors and those they serve as in need of saving by confronting our privileges, valuing the process of feedback, and allowing moments of discomfort to deepen our understanding.


Ministrare Council

The Ministrare Council leads Civic Engagement’s programs, working with community partners, faculty, staff, and students to help bring Wellesley’s mission and motto to life.  Ministrare Council works to build community across campus through volunteer programs and events. 

Ministrare Council is a group of civic-minded student leaders who are responsible for guiding their peers through community engaged work. Ministrare Council is led by six Fellows, each with a specialized focus area. The remainder of the Council is composed of Coordinators who support our student volunteers through education and reflection. 

Ministrare Council offers Wellesley students an opportunity to work closely with professional staff in community organizations to learn about community based work.

2020–2021 Ministrare Fellows

Ministrare Fellow Office Hours

A schedule of Fellow Office Hours is below. Some Fellows have Zoom links included in their contact details for a drop-in option, but you can still email first to set up a meeting if you prefer. Other fellows are appointment by email only.

Appointment by email

Appointment by email

Zoom link 

Appointment by email

Zoom link

Zoom link


10am – 12pm: Aminah, Shreya
1 – 3pm: Maya
3– 5pm: Claire, Udita


10am – 12pm: Zoe


9:30am – 11:30am: Shreya
1 – 3pm: Aminah, Maya
3 – 5pm: Udita


10am – 12pm: Claire
12 – 2pm: Zoe



Sophomore Community Engagement Experience (January Project 2021)

Emily Welden

Welcome to the Sophomore Community Engagement Experience! Please review this guide to get started. In it, you will find:

  • How to Select a Site
  • Site Guide
  • Volunteer Safety Considerations during Covid-19
  • Funding Information
  • January Project Checklist

If you have additional questions, you can...

Virtual Volunteer Opportunities

Erin Konkle
Erin Konkle

This resource offers options for staying engaged and volunteering while away from Wellesley, or virtually while on campus. We'll cover how to determine the right site for you, how to reach out to organizations about volunteering, and organizations to partner with (listed by industry or topic).

Civic Engagement Funding Guide: Federal Work Study & Grants

Erin Konkle
Erin Konkle

Civic Engagement provides a variety of funding opportunities for Wellesley College students and groups for community engagement programs and projects. This resource provides descriptions of Civic Engagement Grants, Federal Work-Study and Service, the Katharine Timerman Wright Award, and the Beha Community Engagement Grant.

“For students interested in advocacy or a cause, such as immigration or civil rights – roll up your sleeves and volunteer! Through volunteering, you will gain insight and professional contacts in your chosen field.”

Civic Engagement Training

Erin Konkle
Erin Konkle

Any student recieving resources from Civic Engagement must attend a mandatory training program before beginning their volunteer work. Trainings are offered at the beginning of every semester and include Pre-Service General Training, Working with Minors, and South Middlesex Correctional Center.

The Presidential Scholars civic leadership community (for rising juniors)

Erin Konkle
Erin Konkle

At Wellesley, service is leadership. The Presidential Scholars program is an opportunity for Wellesley students, starting in their junior and continuing through their senior year, to focus intensively on civic engagement.