Civic Engagement Programming Propels Alumni Careers

Civic Engagement Programming Propels Alumni Careers

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Christian Holm
June 15, 2015

Professional-track programming wasn’t the only thing changing at The Washington Center this spring. The program’s civic engagement component received a refresh that aims to expand students’ definition of the practice from just direct volunteering to other forms of social and political engagement.

 

The civic engagement programming is divided into two modules: social engagement and political engagement. The social engagement module features interactive sessions that explore issues such as education, homelessness and nonprofit development. The political engagement module focuses on heated public issues, including political campaigns, veterans’ affairs and lobbying. In these modules, students have the opportunity to engage in discussions with policy experts and participate in group discussions.

 

“I’m amazed by the number of nonprofit organizations in D.C. and the crucial role they play in public affairs,” Eva Tung ’15 said. (Institution: National Taiwan University; Internship: Councilor, Buchanan & Mitchell, P.C.) “I used to think there was distance between government and the general public, even in places like D.C, but now I realize the impact that engaged citizens can make when they organize.”

 

The change in perspective Tung experienced has propelled many TWC alumni into rewarding careers in political and social advocacy.

 

Justis Tuia ’06 is one example. He serves as a program manager with the U.S. Department of Education, but his career is only one area he feels drawn to social engagement. Tuia, an active volunteer who serves on several boards, says civic engagement isn’t just a transferrable asset that benefits your career, but a sacred commitment to the public and yourself.

 

“Too often, Americans conflate their identity with work, and while our professions are a large part of our lives, our vocations often lie outside of the office,” Tuia says. “This civic engagement component really encourages students to lead balanced lives of service.”

 

For more than three decades, civic engagement has been an integral part of The Washington Center’s internship program. TWC’s civic engagement programming helps students become well informed citizens with the ability to understand opportunities for individual and collective impact through political and non-political means.

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