Community Service

To say that Union has a strong culture of community outreach is an understatement. The College has been named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll five times, a reflection of a deep commitment to fostering a strong relationship with the local community.

The Kenney Center serves as the hub of community-minded programs that are changing the face of the neighborhood. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA), for example, has helped local residents obtain hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax refunds through free tax preparation. Several homes have been built in Schenectady through Habitat for Humanity, and more than 500 community residents attend the annual U-CARE Carnival. And thanks to the passions and hard work of students, faculty and staff at Union, the Park Place neighborhood has become a national model for neighborhood revitalization.

Throughout the campus, Union students are inspired to lend a hand, support the local community and make a lasting impact.

Student leadership and community service


Impact School, recognizing opportunities for community service and student leadership (Princeton Review)

Service opportunities include:

Schenectady Big Brothers/Big Sisters

Union students serves as volunteer mentors to local children in need.

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.

Campus Kitchens

Student volunteers gather every week to make meals for the City Mission as part of this innovative program to combat hunger in the community.

Dutchman Dip

Each winter, students plunge into icy water to raise money for Union community members fighting cancer. The event generates thousands of dollars.

The annual Empty Bowls Project fundraiser

The club’s annual fundraising event is held at Proctors Theater each spring and brings the community together to raise hungry awareness and funds through the sale of handcrafted pottery bowls made by Union students.

Good Eats

Funded in part by Union’s Minerva House system, Good Eats coordinates with Schenectady ARC (Advocacy, Resources, Choices) to cook and plan meals in Minerva kitchens with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Habitat Schenectady

Union students volunteer with the local Habitat for Humanity chapter to build houses for people in need.

Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP)

This program has helped students in grades 7-12 prepare to enter college and increase their participation in mathematics, science, technology and health fields.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

Student VITA volunteers work directly with low-income families to assist in filing their tax returns.


This annual spring carnival, brings more than 500 children and their families to campus for pizza, ice cream, cotton candy and games with Union students.

More programs listed here