Community Engagement

Our Mission

Union College Community Engagement offers volunteer opportunities to connect Union students with local partners in Schenectady, enabling them to serve the community while gaining awareness of local issues and building leadership skills.

See our Goals and Objectives.

What We Do

  • Serve as a liaison between the Union College community and Schenectady schools/organizations
  • Plan one-time activities and ongoing programs, allowing student volunteers to get involved at varying levels of commitment
  • Host annual service events on and off campus
  • Lead Community Experience Pre-Orientation for incoming First Year students, introducing them to Schenectady through community service
  • Collaborate with Union student clubs and organizations involved in community outreach
Union College student volunteers

Want to Volunteer?

Upcoming Events

Goose Hill Neighborhood Clean-Up Day - Saturday, April 22nd 8 AM - 2 PM
Join us for a fun day in the community to clean up the neighborhood!

Transportation, supplies and light refreshments provided. Wear your Union gear.
Multiple shifts available. Sign up here.

Union College Community Carnival - Sunday, May 21st 12 - 3 PM
Local families are invited to campus for a free carnival with food, games, crafts and more!

To find out how you can get involved, email

Annual Events

  • Community Experience Pre-Orientation

    Community Engagement offers a community service themed Pre-Orientation Experience for incoming students. Learn more.

  • John Calvin Toll Day of Service

    John Calvin Toll Day is Union’s annual day of service. Every fall hundreds of students volunteer at local sites. This is the single biggest day of volunteering at Union College.

  • MLK, Jr. Day Service Event

    Community Outreach chooses a service project each year to benefit the local community and honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Random Acts of Kindness Week

    During Random Acts of Kindness week student volunteers organize a wide variety of efforts to spread kindness on campus and in the surrounding community. Activities vary from year to year but often include writing thank you cards, posting positive messages around campus, delivering candy bars to City Mission, a free raffle for students, and much more!

  • Community Carnival

    Community Outreach hosts a free annual Community Carnival for local kids and families in Schenectady. Hundreds of community members come to campus to enjoy free games, crafts, food, and fun!

Ongoing Programs

  • Discovery Academy

    Discovery Academy is a program run by Schenectady ARC that takes place on Union College campus. Young adults with developmental disabilities come to Union to have a college life experience.

    Students, clubs, and organizations volunteer in a variety of ways - socializing and sharing meals, conducting brief lessons or activities, inviting the group to participate in campus events, and more.

  • ESL Tutoring

    The Kenney Community Center partners with the Salvation Army in Schenectady to match Union ESL tutors with adult English language learners. Volunteers with varying levels of Spanish skills help to tutor on a weekly basis.

  • Junior Science

    Junior Science is a hands-on STEM program for students in elementary school. Student volunteers plan and teach a variety of experiments to help kids learn about science and technology.

  • Pen Pals

    Union students are paired with elementary students from Zoller School in Schenectady. Pen pals write weekly emails to one another, and in-person pen pal visits are planned once or twice a year.

  • Union STEP Tutoring

    The Union Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP) provides tutoring and mentoring to middle and high school students in the Schenectady City School District. In-person and online tutoring options are available.

  • VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance)

    The Kenney Community Center provides space for the Economics Department to run the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site at Union College. Student VITA volunteers work directly with low-income families to assist in filing their tax returns.

    For information about the VITA program, please contact (518) 388-6652 or