Historically, civic engagement and community service emerged on US college campuses in the 1980’s as "co-curricular" projects and activities, including student clubs and volunteer opportunities.
Leaders in higher education recognize that, for maximum impact, civic and community engagement should also be firmly tied to the academic curriculum. Students benefit from opportunities to ground their classroom-based knowledge in real-world experiences. Students also gain more from community service when that service in based in a relevant academic framework. Finally, students who are interested in social and environmental issues can increase their impact by learning how to promote change, including through public policy, through the work of community-based and non-profit organizations, and through the development of leadership skills.