The Community Engagement Challenge

Submissions for Spring 2024 will open in January. The Spring 2024 cycle deadline is February 11th, 2024

The Center for Community Engagement (CCE) invites University of Rochester student organizations to apply for Community Engagement Challenge grants. These grants of up to $500 each are intended to support projects that build and strengthen ties between the University and the City of Rochester.

Recognizing that many student organizations already have a strong history of performing service activities in the Rochester area and elsewhere, grants can be used to expand current efforts or develop new initiatives 

Funds can also be used to cover the cost of transportation and/or materials for a community service project, or the cost of training that will help an organization improve its ability to engage with the community.

The grants will be awarded by a selection committee that includes students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community input. Special thanks to the Class of 2011 for their generous donation that makes these grants possible.

Past Winners

Congratulations to our past Community Engagement Challenge winners:

Spring 2022- GlobeMed: GlobeMed partnered with the Garden of Hope, a community garden in the heart of Rochester, to help build up, maintain, and promote the organization as a local resource for city residents. GlobeMed funded new garden beds, a compost unit and winter gear needed for people in the community. 

Spring 2021 - East Pen Pal Program: The East Pen Pal Program worked to create a connection between undergraduates and eighth grade scholars at East Lower School. In 2020, East Pen Pal Program focused on helping to alleviate the stress these scholars and their families were experiencing by providing students with gift cards they could use to purcahse supplies that support learning.

Fall 2020 - STEM Initiative: STEM Initiative partnered with Nativity Preparatory Academy, School 16, and the Boys and Girls Club of Rochester, to provide fun, interactive activities that promote scientific and STEM-focused learning to students in underserved areas within the city of Rochester.  STEM Initiative worked quickly to adapt to a virtual model that allowed them to continue working with students whose educational growth and well-being were especially at risk in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Spring 2020 - The Students' Association for Interfaith Cooperation: SAIC partnered with Rochester Engaging in Action for the Chronically Homeless (REACH) to provide a meal for people staying at REACH’s shelter. REACH provides a temporary winter shelter for some of the most chronically homeless people in Rochester.

Spring 2019 - UR Splash: UR Splash hosted an educational outreach day for high school students to participate in classes on the UR campus taught by current undergraduate students. The event targeted students at School Without Walls, Wilson Magnet High School, Edison Career and Technology High School, and East Upper School.

Fall 2018 - Refugee Student Alliance: RSA held a fundraising event to benefit Making a Connection (MAC) Academy, a program for young adult refugees who have aged out of the school system that helps them develop their professional and language skills. 

Spring 2018 - Soñar DespiertoSoñar Despierto (Daydream Foundation) was able to transport their members to volunteer in an after school program at Cameron Community Ministries and to hold events for the residents at Monroe Community Hospital. 

Spring 2017 – UR HEAL: University of Rochester Health Education and Advocacy Leaders (UR HEAL) purchased blood pressure cuffs to provide regular screenings for soup kitchen patrons and educate them about health concerns.