Anyone can make an impact on their community, no matter their field of interest.

The Pathways of Public Service and Civic Engagement was created by Stanford University’s Haas Center for Public Service to rethink how individuals can engage with both the public sector and civil society.

Although this student organization is called the Volunteer Center, we recognize that volunteering isn’t the only way to support and connect with your community.

Explore Social Issues Important to You

Take the Pathway Survey to find opportunities based on your interests, and set an appointment with the Volunteer Center for the next steps.

Take the Survey

Six Pathways of Public Service and Civic Engagement

The Six Pathways navigates through many opportunities and activities that aim to impact our local community and environment.

1. Community Organization and Activism

Through awareness-based involvement, education, and mobilizing an individual or collective action to influence or persuade others.

Example Activities

  • Join a march in Madison to address current immigration issues.
  • Attend monthly meetings with a grassroots movement that uplifts the voices of those left behind by state and local policies.
  • Organize an awareness campaign on the college campus to address an issue that affects many students.
  • Contact Madison College's Student Senate to express concerns about an issue facing students.
  • Participate in events through the Intercultural Exchange to contribute to a campus-wide justice.

2. Community-Engaged Learning and Research

Connect coursework and academic research to community-identified concerns to enrich knowledge and inform action on social issues.

Example Activities

Review existing publications and research, and learn more about the community issues, priorities, and initiatives that you are passionate about. Madison College’s Library Research Guides are one place to start.

3. Direct Service 

Address the immediate needs of individuals or a community, often involving contact with the people or places served.

Example Activities

  • Sign up for a one-time service event with the Volunteer Center.
  • Commit to volunteering in the community for 2 hours each week through the WolfPack Volunteers program.
  • Assist with trail maintenance and cleanup in state parks.
  • Use the Volunteer Your Time database to find a volunteer option that works with your schedule and interests.

4. Philanthropy

Donate funds from individuals or institutions to contribute to the public good.

Example Activities

  • Organize a student event on campus to raise money for local blood banks during a crisis.
  • Donate food or personal care items to the Madison College Cupboard Student Food Pantries.
  • Collect donations for an organization or cause you are passionate about.

5. Policy and Governance 

Participate in political processes, policymaking, and public governance.

Example Activities

  • Vote (including in local, off-year elections)
  • Register others to vote
  • Complete the Census
  • Volunteer as a poll worker on Election Day
  • Write to and call elected officials to present your opinion on public issues
  • Attend a school board or other local government meeting
  • Run for Student Senate
  • Run for public office
  • Contribute to the public, written comments on pending legislation (federal, state, and local)
  • Speak directly to legislators at the Capitol
  • Contact media to present your opinion on public issues
  • Research or learn about policies within a topic of interest or organization you are a member of

6. Social Entrepreneurship and Corporate Social Responsibility 

Use ethical business or private sector approaches to create or expand market-oriented responses to social or environmental problems.

Example Activities

  • Only purchase fair trade products and encourage others to do the same, to inspire other businesses to adopt fair trade.
  • Design an app that addresses an issue you care about.
  • Brainstorm a new business idea and road map out your idea to create change within a sector working with Madison College’s Center for Entrepreneurship.