Service and Volunteerism

The University of Montana (UM) sits in the heart of Missoula, Montana, a city well-known for having high levels of social capital and civic engagement opportunities. UM is an integral part of the community on many fronts, and we are proud of the long-standing tradition of student and faculty civic engagement in partnership with local nonprofit organizations, city government, and private businesses to address issues of public concern at the local level and beyond.

Many colleges and universities across the country recognize that higher education institutions must make democracy and civic responsibility a central aspect of higher learning (AAC&U). This value is documented in mission statements and strategic plans. In part, the University of Montana’s mission is to “educate competent and humane professionals and informed, ethical, and engaged citizens of local and global communities; and provide basic and applied research, technology transfer, cultural outreach, and service benefiting the local community, region, State, nation and the world”. In support of this mission, and to galvanize skills for effective community engagement, ELCS offers various programs to build civic competencies among students.

Civic Competencies

Civic Identity and Commitment

Students gain awareness of the beliefs, attitudes, values and emotions that motivate one to take action and maintain the energy to serve one’s community.

Civic Communication

Students shape communication strategies to effectively speak, listen, and adapt to others for the purpose of civic action.

Diversity of Communities and Cultures

Students are open to what can be learned from diverse communities and cultures.

Students demonstrate growth in their own attitudes and beliefs because of knowledge and/or experience working within and learning from diversity.

Critical Thinking

Students engage in collective analysis of issues and tasks.

Students understand democratic processes and use critical reasoning to analyze social action.

Civic Action

Students become responsibly connected to the community for positive social change.