Alternative Spring Breaks

Alternative Breaks are an opportunity for students to travel off campus (usually), do service work together, and to reflect more deeply on themselves and societal issues that face us. Being with a group of students focused on performing service and reflecting on that work can be one of the most meaningful experiences one can have. It can also simply be fun to go to a new place, get to know new people and work together to make a meaningful change for an individual or an area.

Annual Community Sale

Community Sale

Founded in 2006, the Community Sale is a partnership with several offices across campus, with CCESL and the Office of Sustainability overseeing the project. The sale features items that departing HWS students no longer need or can’t fit into their cars for the trip home, saving them from going to waste. Students collect possessions such as furniture, appliances, lamps, kitchen items, rugs and other household items. Once collected, student workers will price the items and set up in the Geneva Recreation Center for the sale. The collection also includes clothing and food, which CCESL donates directly to local non-profit agencies and food banks. An e-waste collection is likewise an important part of closing the residence halls. As of 2018, the sale has fundraised $90,800, and diverted over 94,400 pounds of materials from local landfills. For the past several years, proceeds have benefitted the Geneva 2020 initiative, which seeks to support and work with the public school district on its key goals: kindergarten readiness, school success and high graduation rates, and career and college readiness. Check out a time lapse video of a recent sale here.

Big Brothers, Big Sisters

Big Brothers, Big

Big Brothers Big Sisters matches children ages 6 through 18 with mentors in professionally supported one-to-one relationships. HWS helps with community-based mentoring in which Bigs and Littles meet for an hour a week in their community to share fun activities, stories and a little bit of themselves. Please email for more information.

Click here if you'd like to see a Big Brother and Little Brother on campus!

Blood Drive

In conjunction with the local Red Cross, CCESL sponsors three blood drives on campus annually; one in October on or near Halloween, one in February, and another in April. If you wish to donate blood off campus at another date or time, contact your local Red Cross organization to find local blood drive dates and locations off campus. Please e-mail for more information.

HWS Corps

HWS Corps works with local schools and youth programs to connect HWS tutors and mentors with area schoolchildren.

HWS Corps hires and trains over 80 paid tutors each semester, allowing HWS students to work with local youth from 3 to 5 hours each week. HWS tutors and their younger counterparts make significant connections during tutoring and mentoring, greatly benefiting both tutors and tutees as they work together on finding academic success.

NOTE: HWS Corps is going virtual for Fall 2020. We will be connecting with students through Zoom or other similar platforms over the course of the semester, helping with literacy, homework, and general academic support.

America Reads

America Reads began in 1988 (starting as a more general literacy program and then evolving into the federal America Reads program in 1997). HWS has continued to support literacy in local schools and afterschool programs throughout the decades, allowing paid and trained tutors to work one-on-one with elementary students who need extra help in expanding their literacy skills and exploring the best parts of learning to read well.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Geneva works in partnership with CCESL to send tutors to the Geneva Community Center to work with 4th-6th grade students and to the Goodman Street Club to work with 1st-3rd grade students. Many opportunities are also available in the areas of recreation and sports, arts and crafts, drama, music, leadership development, special events, computer literacy training and more!

Boys and Girls Club Logo

America Reads tutors must be Federal Work Study eligible. HWS students that work at the Boys and Girls Club Geneva can be either non-federal tutors or tutors who are federally work-study eligible. Volunteers are welcome and appreciated!

If interested in applying for an HWS Corps position, please apply at HWS Engage.

For more information, please email

Neighbors' Night

Neighbors’ Night was launched in 1987 designed to reach out to the young neighbors of our church in downtown Geneva and share God’s love. Neighbors’ Night currently welcomes between 50 to 100 children in grades K-8 every Wednesday evening from October through May (5:15 pm-7:00 p.m.) Activities including storytelling, song, crafts, skits, games, and a full dinner. Generous volunteers make this program a fun, safe, and loving environment. Click here to view a video about the program, and email for more information.

Cooking Matters

Civic Leaders

Civic Leaders

CCESL Civic Leaders serve as the backbone support team for the Center’s outreach efforts, programming, and civic engagement collaborations. Civic Leaders are outstanding students who have participated in a wide variety of community service throughout the community, and combined with curricular interests and leadership skills, have assumed a greater responsibility through oversight of specific programs. Civic Leaders collaborate as a cohort to support each other’s endeavors, and maximize alliances with other student clubs and programs while working hard to support and build upon Geneva and extended community partnerships. Civic Leaders attend and reflect upon events throughout the year, and receive the President’s Civic Leadership Award upon graduation.

Community Based Research Project

Community Based Research (CBR) projects entail a semester long commitment devoted to the exploration of a vital community issue. Students with exceptional initiative work collaboratively with a community partner and faculty sponsor. Responsibilities vary based upon the specific details within the proposal and will likely include independent research, weekly check-ins with community partner and faculty sponsor, and a concluding presentation or project. CBR projects can count towards a student's major (see course requirements) or as Geneva Collaborative Internship (GCIP 401). Please review the application and contact Katie Flowers in CCESL.

Junior Board Program

Honorary Board Member Program

Civic participation on boards of not-for-profits is critical to the functioning of our society and an important component of engaged citizenship. In collaboration with the HWS Centennial Center – HWS Leads Certificate Program, the Junior Board program gives students an opportunity to see how an agency governing board functions by serving on one during college and learning from local community leaders. Interested students are given training on "Board Basics" and then placed for a term of service on participating non-profit advisory boards. In the past, students have served on the following boards: Geneva Area Chamber of Commerce, Ontario ARC, Geneva Boys and Girls Club, Geneva Business Improvement District, Lochland School, Waterloo Historical Society, and Success for Geneva's Children. For more information, please email

Community Lunch Program

Community Lunch Program

For two months out of the school year, the Colleges' community is in charge of Thursdays with the local community "soup kitchen." Students, sometimes with the help of faculty and staff, plan, prepare, and serve lunch to those in need in the Geneva area, as well as spend time with them over the meal. Students can and do volunteer at other times as well. This is a very popular service and new volunteers are always welcome. For more information, contact At the 2007 Commencement, former director Marge Shanahan was given an Honorary Degree for managing and directing this program for over 10 years, as well as her dedication to service and her commitment to making a meaningful difference in the lives of the people of Geneva.


First Year Day of Service

Since the fall of 2000, the entering classes at HWS have participated in a service-learning project during Orientation. This introduction to the community highlights the importance of service for The Colleges as an institution. Annually, students service at approximately 40 locations around Geneva and the Finger Lakes region. On this day, volunteers from campus and the surrounding area come together with the common purpose of giving back to the greater Geneva community. Click here to see pictures from previous Orientation Days of Service.

Geneva Heroes

Geneva Heroes

Geneva Heroes is an eight-week service and leadership program that engages 20-25 local middle and high school students in service with HWS during the spring semester. Founded in 1996, HWS students recruit youth participants and then lead them in teambuilding, leadership, and service activities and a shared appreciation for the Geneva and extended community, as well as friendships between all students result. Click here to view pictures from previous community service collaborations, including unearthing and righting headstones in historic Washington Street Cemetery, waxing floors at the Geneva Food Pantry, raking leaves for elderly citizens, landscaping at at Lakeview Mental Health, moving furniture at the Boys and Girls Club, visiting with residents of Seneca Terrace assisted living center, and assisting the Geneva Public Library with efforts to prepare for their annual book sale fundraiser. For more information, please e-mail for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity, HWS Chapter

With support from the Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning, students initiated and completed the process to form a campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity. The group regularly helps in the building of houses with the Yates and Ontario County Habitat affiliates. Since its inception, the group has worked to raise money for an "HWS House" in Geneva. Contact or CCESL for more information on how to become involved.

Holiday Gift Program

Holiday Gift Program

CCESL organizes a gift drive with local social service agencies which historically generates over $5,000 in gifts which are donated to local families in need. Gift collection begins in November and continues through the holiday season.


Information about mentoring and opportunities to mentor are available, including:

Readers College Classes

The “CESL199” Civic Engagement and Service Learning half-credit courses provide opportunities for students to engage in and reflect upon critical social issues through reading, discussion, and experiential learning. Service-learning is a vital component to each course, allowing students to apply in-class learning while having a positive impact on local, national, and/or global communities. Students are challenged to consider axioms including “to whom much has been given, much is expected,” “what are the civic responsibilities of citizenship?” and “is action the best response to a societal ill?” Email for current CESL199 options.


Rotaract is the campus version of Rotary, an international service organization that has chapters across the world (the high school equivalent is Interact). Both Rotary and Rotaract promote service and international understanding. The HWS Rotaract sponsors a number of service activities and works with the Geneva Rotary Club on some of its events. This makes them true "partners in service" and key members of the family of Rotary. Contact for more information about how to get involved in Rotaract.

Service Club Officer

HWS Engage - type in a service organization you’d like to learn more about.

Summer of Service

Established in 2010 with support from Tom Patchett, Margueritte Murphy and Brian Cooper, the Summer of Service is an exciting partnership with local non-profit agencies through a collaborative internship program that will engage HWS students in 300 paid hours of service during June, July and August. The internship extends the goals of service-learning courses and civic engagement in the Geneva community while supporting student endeavors by providing paid employment.

"I decided to get involved in summer of service because I yearned for an internship or job opportunity that would allow me to immerse myself in this community further and have a meaningful impact." -Hannah Brooks '17, Summer of Service 2015 Community Center Intern.

While subject to change, internship examples include:

  • The Boys and Girls Club at Goodman Street Intern will coordinate the Summer Art program, we are seeking a creative and artistic student who has a demonstrated ability to work well with large groups of children. Must demonstrate initiative and organization, experience with developing lesson plans will be given priority)
  • The Boys and Girls Club at The Community Center Intern will coordinate the summer lunch program, which provides continuity for youth dependent upon meals received at school during the academic year. Additional programs may include the Garden Club and Youth Athletics, priority will be given to candidates willing and able to drive the Club 12 passenger van.
  • The Geneva Middle School/Geneva High School Intern will assist principals in school success data collection efforts. Additional responsibilities could include summer school facilitation and proctoring exams. Priority will be given to students with quantitative reasoning and familiarity with Microsoft Excel.

The application for the Summer of Service internship is available here.

For information on past Summer of Service opportunities, please click here.

Past end-of-summer projects by students may be viewed here.

Youth Sports Coach


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.