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 Experience

The Sophomore Experience is an opportunity for Wellesley sophomores to explore civic engagement in their home communities during the spring 2021 academic term when they are away from campus. Rather than simply move our experiential work to a virtual format, we believe this a moment to reconsider what this work means and what is needed right now. The Sophomore Experience program provides an opportunity for sophomores to connect to their communities and develop purpose in a chaotic time. Using a peer-led model, sophomores will actively engage in their home communities, identifying their own partner site, and participating with their Wellesley sibs in guided reflection. The program will support sophomores in considering what skills are needed to be active listeners, effective advocates, critical thinkers, and empathic citizens.


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


Oct 28, 2020

Princeton in Africa - direct application deadline

Eligible: rising seniors and recent alumnae; U.S. citizenship not required.

International Student, Travel, Service, Postgraduate

Princeton in Africa (PiAf) matches talented and passionate college graduates with our partners working across Africa for yearlong service projects. Our Fellows have helped improve education and public health, source fresh water and alternative energy, increase family incomes, and so much more.  

Questions?  Any prospective Wellesley applicants are welcome to seek advice from the Fellowships team by dropping in online to Virtual Fellowship Pop-Ups (search...

Nov 9, 2020

Princeton in Asia - direct application deadline

Eligible: rising seniors and recent alumnae; U.S. citizenship not required.

International Student, Travel, Service, Postgraduate

Princeton in Asia (PiA) offers service-oriented fellowships in the fields of education, media/journalism, international development (NGOs) and business, with a majority of fellows working as English teachers at universities and high schools.  Please note that the application closes at 12:00 pm EDT.

**Please note this is an estimated deadline; for additional details and updates, please see the program's website. While you're there, sign up for one of their October webinars for applicants!...

Nov 12, 2020

Princeton in Latin America - direct application deadline

Eligible: seniors and recent graduates of North American and Canadian universities (although some placements will not be available to individuals who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents); working knowledge of the target language (Spanish, Portuguese, or French) is necessary, as well as an academic grounding in the region's culture, history, economics, society, and politics and a sustained record of volunteerism and community service..

Travel, Service, Postgraduate, International Student

Princeton in Latin America matches partner NGO and multilateral organizations that are engaged in socially responsible development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean with highly qualified and motivated recent college graduates who are interested in year-long service fellowship opportunities throughout the region.  

 Did you know? Johana Mata '17 was a PiLA Fellow in the Domincan Republic in 2018-19!

**For full details and updates, please see the program's website!

Questions?  Any prospective Wellesley applicants are welcome to seek advice from the ...