30 Community Service Project Ideas for College Students

In college, when money is tight, finding ways to give back can be more difficult. Luckily, one resource that college students do have an abundance of is time, and that's all you really need to make a difference! Here are some simple ways you can better your community - on campus and beyond.

On Campus Ideas

  1. Volunteer for a free tutoring organization on campus to help your fellow students improve in their classes. Genius Tip: Make it easy for students to reserve a tutoring slot with an online sign up.
  2. If you're an upperclassman, begin or join a mentorship program to advise younger students on class registration, getting involved in activities or finding their way around campus.
  3. Gather a group of friends or talk to one of the on-campus clubs to package meals for the homeless in the surrounding city.
  4. Organize a campus cleanup day where students volunteer to pick up litter or do yard work around campus.
  5. Hold a "Ramen Drive" where students donate extra canned food or packaged food from their dorm stash to give to those in need.
  6. At the end of the semester, create a textbook donation drive so students can donate their gently used textbooks to redistribute to low-income students for free.
  7. Create a pledge for students to ask their parents/grandparents to send their next care package to deployed soldiers overseas.
  8. Coordinate student drivers to give young students rides to the grocery store or doctor since they may not have cars on campus.

Help keep your campus beautiful by organizing volunteers for a cleanup day. SAMPLE

Reaching Out to the Community

  1. Coordinate with your marching band or club orchestra to give free music lessons to children in the surrounding community (this can be for a semester or a one-time workshop).
  2. A group of students can offer a free college application workshop to help high school students in the surrounding community write and edit their essays.
  3. Check out online videos to learn to knit or crochet, and gather a group of students to make hats and scarves for people in need.
  4. Coordinate with a local elementary school to invite low-income students to shadow a college student for a day, eat in the dining hall and/or attend a sports game to promote going to college!
  5. Organize an afterschool tutoring program where college students can help local elementary school students with homework.
  6. Marketing and communications students can volunteer to help local nonprofits with their fundraising efforts and social media strategy.
  7. College athletes can offer free sports clinics for children who may not have the opportunity to play on a team.
  8. Partner with your college stores to give away excess clothing to homeless shelters or organizations helping families in need.
  9. Organize a group of friends to cook a meal at a local soup kitchen.
  10. Give back by reading or playing games with retirees at an assisted living facility near your school.
  11. Teaching students can volunteer at local schools to help teachers with lesson planning, filing and grading.
  12. Sign up to be a "buddy" for a child in a long-term hospital stay. Buddies can read, play games or simply visit with children to give their parents time to shower, sleep or get food.
  13. Language majors can volunteer to teach English to non-native speakers in the surrounding area.

Students can give back by participating in a local park clean up. SAMPLE

Spread Joy On Campus (And Raise Money to Give Back)

  1. Coordinate a cappella groups to go caroling or deliver singing Valentines on campus to raise money for a good cause.
  2. Hold a "puppy-kissing" booth where stressed students can pet a dog for $1 to raise money for local animal shelters.
  3. Sell coffee for $1 in the libraries during finals and donate the money to a scholarship fund to help more students attend college.
  4. Have art students sell their pieces to students for cheap dorm décor and donate the money to help a worthy cause.
  5. Organize a talent competition with a small entry fee and donate the collected funds to a local nonprofit.
  6. Have a certified yoga teacher in your group of friends? Host a yoga class or relaxation workshop on campus and encourage participants to donate a few dollars to help people in need in your community.  

Create an online sign up to share local volunteer opportunities for students. SAMPLE

Give Back to Faculty and Staff

  1. Students can volunteer to provide free babysitting for children of professors and staff during busy times on campus, like finals or the beginning of a semester. Genius Tip: Coordinate babysitters with an online sign up.
  2. Check with your school to see if student volunteers can clean academic facilities for a day to give janitorial staff a break.
  3. Have students sign a pledge to be more conscious about cleaning up in the dining halls and classrooms to ease some of the burden on janitorial staff!
With a little of your time, you can impact your campus and community in a big way.

Kayla Rutledge is a college student who spends most of her time writing, singing for her church and eating quesadillas.