Conference on Civic Engagement

Each year the Center hosts a campus-wide conference on civic engagement to encourage a robust dialogue on civic life and public service. A variety of themes ranging from the role of faith in service to how the changing media landscape affects political participation have been explored in past conferences.

In order to broaden the impact and awareness of civic engagement both on and off campus, the conferences are coordinated with partner organizations at Northwestern and beyond. Past co-coordinators include the Northwestern Alumni Association, Northwestern International Program Development, Interfaith Youth Core and the Medill School of Journalism.

Civically Engaged Alumni Roundtables 2013

The 2013 Civically Engaged Alumni Roundtables took place on Tuesday, April 23 from 6-7:30 pm in Harris 108. Thank you to all who came for conversation with Wildcats who have meaningful lives and successful careers.

Civically Engaged Alumni Roundtables created an intimate environment where students had the opportunity to learn from and network with civically engaged NU alumni who work in the students’ fields of interest. Students were able to learn about how the alumni use the skills, knowledge, and resources they gained at NU to be civically engaged in both their career and life.

More than 16 inspiring alumni addressed undergraduate students around the following themes:

  • Arts/Culture
  • Education/Youth
  • Media/Communication
  • Health/Medicine
  • Business/Management
  • Environmental Sustainability

There was also a moderated panel disussion of alumni who earned their Ph.D.'s from Northwestern. Graduate students interested in careers in social justice and civic responsibility joined this interactive discussion.

Civically Engaged Alumni Roundtables 2012

Building on the success of the conference on Civically Engaged Young Alumni, the Center partnered with the Office of International Program Development, the Martin Luther King Jr Day Celebration Programming Committee, and a variety of other units to offer a new event to promote networking between Northwestern students and alumni engaged in socially responsible work and careers. Click here for more information about the Civically Engaged Alumni Roundtables event.


Please see below for brief information on past conferences.


Civically Engaged Young Alumnni Week

As coordinator of the 2010-11 One Book One Northwestern program, it was decided that the 2010 conference would build on themes raised in Mountains Beyond Mountains, the year’s “One Book” selection. In the book, Dr. Paul Farmer connects his skills and abilities with issues he cares about to craft an inspiring and meaningful life for himself, while making a tremendous impact on the world. This conference examined the question of how Northwestern students from any school or department might find their own ways to apply their talents and their studies while contributing the world at large. Alumni from each undergraduate school visited campus to share their own stories of how they learned to balance successful careers with a commitment to the public good.

The conference kicked off November 2, 2010 with a session featuring Will Butler (WCAS '05) of the award-winning indie rock band Arcade Fire. In addition to headlining at Lollapalooza, Butler and Arcade Fire have raised nearly a million dollars to support Partners in Health, the global health organization founded by Dr. Paul Farmer and featured in the book, Mountains Beyond Mountains. The conference continued over the next two days with sessions featuring faculty-moderated panels of alumni from each undergraduate school who have found meaningful ways to apply their skills and abilities to issues they care about.

Civically Engaged Young Alumni week was co-sponsored by One Book One Northwestern, the Northwestern Alumni Association, University Career Services, and the Global Health Studies Program. Click here to download a complete .pdf program of the conference's events.

ifycLeadership for a Religiously Diverse World

In fall of 2009, CCE partnered with Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) for a conference titled Leadership for a Religiously Diverse World. Over several days leaders and activists from across the country gave talks and workshops on the role faith often plays in service. Dr. Eboo Patel, founder and executive director of Interfaith Youth Core and member of the Advisory Council of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, spoke at the conference’s opening plenary session. Reverend Jim Wallis, President and Executive Director of Sojourners delivered the keynote address. The conference was followed by two new courses for NU undergrads on faith and service taught by Patel in partnership with NU faculty.

New Media and Political Engagement

Prior to the opening of the Center for Civic Engagement, CCE staff helped coordinate the 2008 conference on New Media and Political Engagement in conjunction with Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism.