Union students are extremely proactive about seeking volunteer opportunities as well as suggesting ideas for new programs. All programs have a student leader that manages the day-to-day logistics and recruits volunteers. In many cases, the programs are so successful there is a waiting list for community members.

VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Program

The Kenney Community Center provides space for the Economics Department to run the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site at Union College. Representatives of the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the Internal Revenue Service and the Schenectady County Department of Social Services participated in the development and implementation of the program. Student VITA volunteers work directly with low-income families to assist in filing their tax returns.

For information about the VITA program, please leave a voicemail at (518) 388-6652, and your call will be returned. Kenney Center Staff are unable to help with VITA inquiries.

Big Brothers/Big Sisters

More than one hundred Union College students volunteer each year in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program.

Campus Kitchen

The Campus Kitchen at Union College is one of the student-led affiliate branches of the Campus Kitchens Project. Student volunteers are needed to help deliver excess food from the College's dining hall to the City Mission of Schenectady.

COCOA House (Children of Our Community Open to Achievement)

Founded by a Union alumna, COCOA House serves the Hamilton Hill and Vale neighborhoods. Union College students serve as tutors and mentors.

Empty Bowls

This community event raises awareness and funds for local food programs. With the help of a ceramics professor, Union students have made hundreds of bowls, some made jointly with local Schenectady students.

Habitat for Humanity

Students have formed a club to support Habitat for Humanity, where volunteers build homes in the Schenectady community.

Junior Science Program

Junior Science Program is a hands-on science and math program that introduces girls and boys and in grades 4-6 to the wonders of science and technology. Volunteers help participants conduct small science experiments and learn about various types of technology.

After School Program

The After School Program links Union student mentors with children from local elementary schools to help them complete their homework and participate in fun activities.

*Please note, the After School Program will resume on Jan. 15, 2019.

After School Program Registration Form

Obenzinger Scholars

The Obenzinger scholars organize healthcare workshops at the Kenney Community Center that include diabetes screenings, stress management tips and more. Ellis Hospital periodically provides services to help with the wellness workshops. They also set up food drives for the homeless, the hungry and for soldiers stationed overseas.

STEP (Science and Technology Entry Program)

Information about this program may be found on this page.


U-ReBloom is the idea of Mrs. Judith Ainlay. Students and staff volunteer together to recycle potted plants and other living arrangements from the college and give them to local nursing homes, senior residencies, and rehabilitation centers. The Union College community visits several communities a month to bring smiles, conversation, and plants.

UCARE (Union Community Action Reaching Everyone)

UCARE provides you with a link to volunteer opportunities in the community. UCARE also provides information about community organizations to assist you in identifying service opportunities that meet your interests. UCARE hosts an annual carnival in May that has become a well-attended and popular event for the community. Click here to view organizations participating in the UCARE Program.