The Pathways of Public Service

The Pathways of Public Service & 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. It considers the ways in which someone, no matter their field of interest, can make an impact in their communities.

The six pathways provide ways to find activities, careers, and learning opportunities that fit any passion while making an impact on your local community and/or environment. 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. There are many options.

Want to Learn More?

You can learn more about what pathways fit your interests by taking the Pathway Survey and then setting up an appointment with the Volunteer Center to talk through your results and set up an action plan. Contact for more information.



Six Pathways to Service

  • Community Organization & Activism

    Involving, educating, and mobilizing individual or collective action to influence or persuade others.

    What this looks like:

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

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

    What this looks like:

    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.

  • Direct Service

    Working to address the immediate needs of individuals or a community, often involving contact with the people or places being served.

    What this looks like:

    • 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.
  • Philanthropy

    Donating or using private funds or charitable contributions from individuals or institutions to contribute to the public good.

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

    Participating in political processes, policymaking, and public governance.

    • 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/or 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 public, written comments on pending legislation (federal, state, and/or 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


  • Social Entrepreneurship & Corporate Social Responsibility

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

    What this looks like:

    • Only purchase fair trade products and encourage others to do the same, with the goal of influencing other businesses to also adopt fair trade.
    • Design an app that addresses an issue that 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.