We are a national coalition of colleges and universities committed to advancing the public purposes of higher education.
Who we are Our vision
Campus Compact is a national nonprofit organization. We are the largest and oldest higher education association dedicated to higher education civic and community engagement. Our members make up a force of thousands of presidents, faculty, researchers, students, and civic and community engagement experts at colleges and universities.
Campus Compact takes a comprehensive approach to supporting member institutions—helping them build the knowledge, skills, and capacity needed to enable a just, equitable, and sustainable future.
Campus Compact advances the public purposes of colleges and universities by deepening their ability to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility. Campus Compact envisions colleges and universities as vital agents and architects of a diverse democracy, committed to educating students for responsible citizenship in ways that both deepen their education and improve the quality of community life. We challenge all of higher education to make civic and community engagement an institutional priority.
We prioritize full participation and diversity of thought, experience, and background. We center equity in our actions, processes, and practices to uplift diverse voices and perspectives.
We consistently push ourselves and each other to do and be better. We are motivated by growth—embracing new ideas, prioritizing continuous learning, and meeting challenges head-on.
We recognize that long-term change requires individual and shared ownership of personal and organizational actions. We own our mistakes, give each other grace, collaborate openly, and hold ourselves to high standards of integrity.
We ensure our offerings, resources, and approaches are flexible, grounded in feedback, and responsive to the challenges of our time.
We are direct and authentic within our team, with our members, and with our partners. We know that building trust starts with consistent, honest, and transparent communication.
The evolution of our coalition
Campus Compact was founded in 1985 by the presidents of Brown, Georgetown, and Stanford Universities, along with the president of the Education Commission of the States. These higher education leaders shared a concern about the ongoing health and strength of democracy in the United States. They believed that higher education could be a more effective contributor to the sustainability of democracy with more robust support structures for community engagement. At the time, there was no infrastructure to support education for democracy, the high-impact experiential learning that best supports it, or the campus-community partnerships that model and enable it.
Since our founding, the field of higher education civic and community engagement has grown and matured. As the work on our campuses has evolved, so has Campus Compact. Today, we work through state and regional affiliates and directly with hundreds of campuses across the country to support them in their established community engagement work, convene and connect community-engaged scholars and practitioners, and continue to move the field of higher education civic and community engagement forward.
2015 Action Statement of Presidents and Chancellors
In recognition of Campus Compact‘s 30th anniversary in 2015-16, our Board of Directors asked member presidents and chancellors to join in signing an Action Statement, a declaration of shared commitment to the public purposes of higher education and a promise to develop a Campus Civic Action Plan to realize those purposes more fully.
Since then, more than 450 Presidents and Chancellors have signed on, committing their campuses to create and publicly share Civic Action Plans within a year.
Commitments from the 30th Anniversary Action Statement
To advance the public purposes of higher education, we affirm the following statements, which characterize our current commitments and name the ideals toward which we will work with renewed dedication, focus, and vigor.
- We empower our students, faculty, staff, and community partners to co-create mutually respectful partnerships in pursuit of a just, equitable, and sustainable future for communities beyond the campus—nearby and around the world.
- We prepare our students for lives of engaged citizenship, with the motivation and capacity to deliberate, act, and lead in pursuit of the public good.
- We embrace our responsibilities as place based institutions, contributing to the health and strength of our communities—economically, socially, environmentally, educationally, and politically.
- We harness the capacity of our institutions—through research, teaching, partnerships, and institutional practice—to challenge the prevailing social and economic inequalities that threaten our democratic future.
- We foster an environment that consistently affirms the centrality of the public purposes of higher education by setting high expectations for members of the campus community to contribute to their achievement.
What we do
We offer comprehensive programming, tools, and opportunities that serve the whole campus—senior leaders, faculty, staff, and students—in building the knowledge, skills, and abilities they need for effective civic and community engagement.