Since 2004, the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) has worked to connect campus and community, further pursuing the Seattle University mission of educating the whole person, to professional formation, and to empowering leaders for a just and humane world.

Reporting to the Office of the Provost, the Center also fosters collaborative partnerships with dozens of academic departments and campus offices in support of Seattle University’s ethical and effective engagement hyper-locally and throughout the greater Puget Sound region.

  • 2008: CCE began providing staff and facilitation for a neighborhood-based community engagement initiative that would become known as the Seattle University Youth Initiative.
  • 2011: After a three-year planning process that engaged hundreds of campus and community partners, CCE launched the Seattle University Youth Initiative (SUYI).  SUYI strengthens education and support systems for more than 1,000 local youth and their families, while enhancing the University by providing community engaged learning and research experience to students, faculty and staff.  As Seattle U launched the Youth Initiative, the Children’s Literacy Project, which had been housed in the College of Education since its inception in 1991, merged with Center for Community Engagement to foster collaboration and maximize impact.
  • 2012: Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) received a $30 million HUD “Choice Neighborhood” Grant which included $4 million in additional education support services; SHA asked Seattle U and the Center for Community Engagement to lead the education effort. Through this partnership, CCE has provided leadership and staffing to pursue SUYI's bold vision.
  • 2013-present: CCE and its campus and community partners continue to expand SUYI efforts that enhance the capacity of neighborhood children, youth and families through school partnerships, affordable housing, economic opportunity, community health, public safety and arts.
  • National Recognition: Seattle University has received national accolades for its commitment to community engagement, including recognition from President Obama with one of only five Presidential Awards for community service - the highest recognition by the federal government to a college or university for its civic engagement, service-learning and volunteerism. The U.S. News and World Report has also consistently ranked Seattle University in the top 25 in the country for service-learning.
  • Sharing wisdom: Seattle University has also hosted dozens of delegations from other universities interested in learning about SUYI and Seattle U’s comprehensive community engagement strategies.  The Center is currently working to set-up a national network of faith-based universities pursuing place-based community engagement in their communities.

The Center for Community Engagement has significantly expanded and deepened the practice of community engaged learning among Seattle U faculty, improved and strengthened partnerships with dozens of community organizations, and developed hundreds of opportunities for Seattle U students to lead their peers through transformational learning experiences.

Read more about the history and development of community engagement at Seattle University: Lessons Learned from Seattle University’s Journey of Community Engagement.