Preparing Students for Civic & Social Responsibility

As part of our mission we believe it is critical that students gain and practice the skills and habits necessary for a diverse democracy to thrive. We pursue this goal through five approaches. 


We believe service and community engagement activities such as direct service, capacity building, service-learning, and community-based research opportunities help students gain a sense of purpose & responsibility while building relationships, and gaining skills. These experiences also help students recognize the connection between their studies and the well-being of the community.


We believe preparing and educating students to engage in the electoral process – from registration to education to casting their ballot is fundamental to building life-long voters and strengthening democracy.


We believe it is critical that students are equipped with the tools and habits to promote depolarization and to build bridges across difference in order to find common ground for action.


We believe students need to gain skills and feel empowered to address the pressing issues of our time. Through out deliberative dialogue forums and our student competitions we help students develop and refine their skills.


We agree with Citizen University that “citizenship” is not a legal designation but a way of living as a problem-solving contributor in a self-governing community. However, most Americans do not receive civic training to prepare for this critical role. We seek to provide training and opportunities that will help students explore their civic identity and take leadership in organizing, inspiring, and activating their communities to strengthen democracy.

2024-25 Funding Announcements

Application Deadline: May 29, 2024 at midnight

For the fifth year we are pleased to offer funding to NCCE member campuses to support election engagement and to promote dialogue and civil discourse. These amounts are intended to generate a spark to strengthen democracy. This funding initiative is part of our NC Collegiate Civics Project.


Election Engagement Spark grants ($500)

Please note that these funds can be used to mobilize your campus to participate in the November 2024 elections.

Call for ApplicationsApplication


Funders and Partners

Thank you to the funders and partners who have supported these efforts over the years: 

  • Campus Election Engagement Project (now Civic Influencers)
  • Puffin Foundation
  • Students Learn Students Vote Coalition
  • NC Counts Coalition
  • (Access the 2022 NC midterm voter guides)

We are especially grateful to the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation who, in 2020 and 2022, awarded funds to NCCE for the NC Collegiate Civics Project (NC-CCP), an initiative to promote election engagement and civil discourse dialogue.

NCCE is a partner organization of the Ask Every Student Initiative. This initiative provides a framework to integrate voter participation efforts broadly across campuses with the goal of full participation.  

NCCE is also a proud partner organization for the four major election holidays: National Voter Registration Day, National Voter Education Week, Election Hero Day,  and Vote Early Day.

    Student Leadership Development for Public Service & Social Change 

    In 2017, we partnered with the NC Institute of Political Leadership to host two Pathways to Civic Leadership workshops for students to explore how to make change through different methods, including politics, service, and community organizing. In spring 2023, we will pilot the Collegiate Public Service Leadership Academy at part of the NC-CCP.  

    Starting in 2018, we launched 4C, a biennial competition to help students explore solutions to daunting public issues. The 2019 topic was food insecurity and the 2021 topic was political polarization. We launched the Redesigning Democracy Student Competition in 2023 to help students examine one component of our democracy and propose ideas to improve or enhance it. 


    Learn more: 


    Media Literacy 

    NCCE Executive Director, Leslie Garvin, was selected as a 2022-23 UC Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement Fellow. Her project, which focused on “Disrupting Mis & Disinformation in the University Setting” involves a research project to explore the link between civic engagement and media literacy and will result in a toolkit of resources for institutions to develop and support media literacy. 


    Previous Initiatives

    2020 Census Mobilization

    As part of our efforts to strengthen democracy, NC Campus Compact helped mobilize our member institutions to ensure a complete 2020 Census count in North Carolina. We provided information and funding to support this work throughout the state.  

    In partnership with the NC Counts Coalition, we also sponsored Census Fellows at 11 member colleges and universities. The Fellows targeted communities historically identified as hard-to-count communities to ensure they have the information they need to complete and submit their Census form. This program complemented the state-wide efforts of the NC Complete Count Commission and the NC Counts Coalition.

    We also partnered with the NC Counts Coalition to sponsor the #MakeNCCount Video Contest. These videos, targeting college students, provide information about the census in creative and fun ways. There were two categories for contest submissions: Informational and Inspirational. Each winner received a cash prize.

    The winners were:

    • 1st place Informational category: Deja Mayfield, North Carolina A&T State University
    • 2nd place Informational category: Love Cesar, NC A & T State University
    • Inspirational category winner: Lauren Bagby, Winston-Salem State University