Civic Engagement & Action

Civic Life has opportunities for students to explore civic, moral, and personal responsibility. These programs enable students to persuade peers to get involved in democracy, to challenge their acquisition of “knowledge grounded in action”, to own reform that dismantles systemic barriers to justice and equality, and to mobilize efforts that win resources and services for those who need them most.

Day of Reflection: Visions of the Promised Land

Every Spring, Civic Life assists students in exploring the legacy of service of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This program is a part of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion’s Commemorative Celebration. The event features local, national, and global speakers who are University of Illinois alumni working in education, public services, government, business, civil and human rights, and the nonprofit sector. Speakers challenge students to reflect on past, present, and future strides towards, justice, equality, and liberation.

Contact Civic Life at to view the 2021 Program with Dr. Joy Ann Williamson-Lott, University of Illinois alumna and author of Black Power on Campus, University of Illinois 1965-1975.

Illini Alternative Breaks | IAB

Our high impact IAB’s are designed to assist students with progression along the active citizenship continuum, through catalytic activities and intentional reflection. We explore race and culture in a variety of social and environmental contexts during trips. We build community through preflection activities, explore social issues and causes through service education and research, evaluate our collective responsibility to engage through repeated reflection, and determine the best ways to help through orientation and training with community partners. We examine our impact, continued engagement plan, and personal growth through reorientation. We embrace the Break Away Alternative Breaks service model and incorporate the ABCs into our trips, as a Break Away campus.

Active Citizenship Continuum

Adapted from the Break Away Active Citizenship Continuum.

  1. Red line arrow pointing to the rightMember
    Not concerned with their role in social problems.
  2. Purple line arrow pointing to the rightVolunteer
    Well-intentioned but not well-educated about social issues.
  3. Green line arrow pointing to the rightConscientious Citizen
    Concerned with discovering root causes; asks why?
  4. Active Citizen
    Community becomes a priority in values and life choices.

Service Leadership Team Application

Legacy Learning & Service Scholarship Program

Through a partnership between Civic Life and the Office of Financial Aid, select students with financial need are awarded the scholarship each academic year. Student cohorts complete up to 50 service hours with community organizations to mitigate social issues and address community needs. In year one, all scholars complete the WAIV Program, journal article reviews on social and global issues, and present portfolios of their learning and service experiences. Since 2006, students at Illinois have supported the service engagement of Legacy Scholars through a student fee.

WAIV Program

If you have any questions about the Legacy Scholarship or WAIV Programs, please contact

Legacy Scholar Presentations