civic engagement

Civic Engagement

At Widener, you will connect with civic engagement experiences in Chester, Greater Philadelphia, and around the world.

Serving With Pride

Received Community Engagement Recognition

From the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

50 Service Learning Classes

Connecting coursework with civic engagement

Using Education for Good

79% of Widener undergraduates participate in service or civic engagement—27% higher than the national average.

National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics 2022 gold badge

2022 Gold Rating

Earned by the Widener Community Nursing Clinic at CityTeam three years in a row for its delivery of high-quality health care to underinsured and uninsured members of the community.

Scholarship Opportunities

Bonner Leaders

The Bonner Leaders program was developed by Widener in partnership with the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation to develop the change agents of our time. Our leaders not only graduate with a degree, but also benefit from transferable workforce skills including four years of work experience in the nonprofit sector, intensive leadership training, and a drive to make an impact in our local to global communities.

The Bonner Leaders commit to serving internship-level community service (150 hours per academic year, roughly 5-7 hours weekly). They also participate in customized, experiential learning opportunities designed to make them stand out as civic leaders, social justice agents and active global citizens.

Service has always been a part of my life, but before Widener, it was sporadic. Joining the Bonner Scholars program changed that, providing consistent volunteer positions in the community. Coaching soccer at elementary schools pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to develop leadership skills that I'll use in my career. - Vinny Csercsevits '25

The Maguire Foundation Endowed Scholarships

The Maguire Scholars Fund provides scholarship awards to as many as three incoming, first-year Widener students each year and is renewable each year for a total of four years providing students continue to meet qualifications.

Eligibility to be considered for a Maguire Scholarship includes:

  • Coming from a select list of Philadelphia-area high schools
  • Applying as a first-year student and being admitted to the university
  • Remaining in good academic standing, and actively participating in school and community volunteer extracurricular activities
  • Demonstrating financial need as determined by the university

For information on the Maguire Foundation and the listing of participating high schools students must have attended to apply for the award,  please visit the Maguire Foundation website.

Learn more about the Maguire Foundation Scholarship  

Pride Service Site Leadership Program

The Pride Service Site Leadership Program empowers students to develop a service-oriented mindset. Students not only graduate with a degree, but also benefit from transferable workforce skills including four years of work experience in the nonprofit sector, intensive leadership training, and a drive to make an impact in our local to global communities. 

PSSL’s also work to increase and sustain the quality of life for residents in the Chester community. Students learn the skills needed to be a citizen of character who demonstrates civic leadership.

Pride Service Site Leaders complete 150 hours during the academic year. In return, they receive a $1,500 scholarship to be applied toward their tuition. Interested students should inquire with the Center for Civic and Global Engagement in the fall of their first-year to apply.

Bonner Leader Gives Back Through Education

The Bonner Leaders program provided Michael Dixon '17 with the vehicle to serve his community and build skills he would carry into life and career.

Make an Impact

Academic service learning is one of the foundations of a Widener education, allowing you to connect your passion for service with your coursework. By uniting service experiences with classroom activities, you will develop your sense of civic responsibility while achieving your academic goals.

Widener faculty give you the support to apply academic content with meaningful, measurable projects in real community settings. Through our service learning courses, you will have innovative opportunities to serve individuals, public schools, public service agencies, and nonprofit organizations within our network of community partners.

A variety of service learning courses are offered every semester, including Coffee Culture and the Environment in Costa Rica, Contemporary Issues in Political Engagement, and Social Work Practice with Communities.

Widener’s community outreach programs will help you gain hands-on experience, hone your leadership skills, grow your professional network, and broaden your worldview. Whether you’re teaching kids in Chester, participating in innovative outreach programs in Philadelphia, or installing solar panels in Panama villages, service can stretch your mind and heart. At Widener, you can make a positive impact in the lives of people around the world.

Our students, faculty, and staff serve as teachers, tutors, and trainers in many programs that give academic support and educational opportunities to families and children. At Widener, you can serve in a variety of schools, school districts, and after-school programs including:

  • Widener Partnership Charter School
  • Widener Reads and Widener Counts
  • Boys and Girls Club of Chester
  • Chester Eastside
  • Chester Education Foundation
  • Chester High School
  • First Robotics (STEM Academy)
  • Northern Star Sports
  • Soccer for Success/Chester Upland Youth Soccer
  • Stetser Elementary School

When it comes to economic vitality and growth, we’re in this together. Widener supports economic development projects that attract jobs, encourage small business creation, spur investment, and generate pride in the communities we serve. Widener works to strengthen the local economy by developing partnerships and implementing community renewal projects.

  • At Widener’s Small Business Development Center, one of 18 such centers in Pennsylvania and an accredited affiliate of the National Association of Small Business Development Centers, student interns and faculty experts offer free management consulting, education programs, and other services to small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in the community.
  • Widener offers City of Chester employees, their spouses, and dependents discounted tuition for programming offered through the Center for Extended Learning, as well as for the masters of education program. Learn more about our educational partnerships with employers.
  • Widener University helped bring 150 new jobs and the first casual dining restaurant chain to Chester with the opening of Uno Chicago Grill.
  • Widener helped to spearhead University Crossings, a $50 million development project in Chester with a projected annual economic impact of $1 million and more than $80,000 in earned income tax revenues from the jobs created.

Student Perspectives

Being able to have these internships and experiences outside of the classroom makes me feel happy because not only am I able to build connections, but I’m getting experience and understanding with the career that I want.
Ariana Hurtado-Day
Class of 2023
Undergraduate | Psychology, Pre-Physical Therapy
Read Ariana's Story
Widener student Ariana Hurtado-Day

Student Perspectives

It’s really important to me to be involved in setting an image, especially for first-generation students or people who are shy or minority students on campus. I want to use my voice.
Adonijah Allsup
Class of 2023
Undergraduate | Bachelor's in robotics engineering
Read Adonijah's Story
Adonijah Allsup, wearing a blue fraternity sweater, poses next to a stone marked 1914

Student Perspectives

Political science and sociology connect in a lot of different ways, especially when you look at the theorists, there’s a lot of overlap. Seeing those connections and then also connecting that to my daily life has been super important.
Taylor Easter
Class of 2025
Undergraduate | Political Science & Sociology
Read Taylor's Story
Taylor pictured with the Pride lions statue on campus

Student Perspectives

Widener has helped me take my academics and what I’ve learned in classes and apply it not just in the Chester community, but to the whole world in general.
Hannah Berard
Class of 2022
Undergraduate | Bachelor's in Social Work; Bachelor's in Psychology
Read Hannah's Story
Hannah Berard stands on top of a mountain and signs "I love you"

Student Perspectives

Widener gives me access to so many great opportunities I wouldn't have had elsewhere. These experiences and opportunities give me a great competitive advantage heading into the workforce.
Evan Davis
Class of 2021
Undergraduate | Business Analytics, Finance, Management Major
Read Evan's Story
Student Evan Davis reading a Superman comic book

Student Perspectives

Every study abroad trip, every internship opportunity, every volunteer event, every class is contributing to me not only being a better person, but better in business. The world of business today requires us to be globally active.
Jessica Feoli
Class of 2021
Undergraduate | International Business Major, Spanish Minor
Read Jessica's Story
Student Jessica Feoli standing in the Phillies ballpark