When I was a senior in high school, one of the reasons I was excited to apply to NYU was its commitment to community service. Nestled in the heart of New York City, our campus has many service opportunities for students to take part in. By recognizing the importance of community engagement, students feel encouraged to use their skills to make a positive impact. In this article we explore the diverse service and community-building opportunities available across NYU.

The author’s first fall meeting for a nonprofit focusing of literacy service and advocacy.
My nonprofit organization, Barraz Genesis, meeting for our first event of the spring semester.

Student-Led Initiatives

NYU students have many unique passions and interests that they can use to create change. So, at NYU, there are numerous student-led organizations and clubs that dedicate themselves to various causes. These clubs may focus on environmental sustainability, public health, and educational development. My favorite club, Literacy Matters, unites elementary school and immigrant communities around the city to provide quality educational resources. Our club and clubs like ours allow students to build friendships while also engaging with the regions closest to campus.

The author, Elena, and her fellow executive board members at the first fall Literacy Matters at NYU meeting.

Community Engagement Endeavors

NYU’s commitment to service extends to its local neighborhoods as well. For example, through programs like The Bowery Mission and Two Birds, One Stone, student volunteers can provide food to soup kitchens across lower Manhattan. These initiatives also expand into Brooklyn and the Bronx, as students can tutor at local schools, organize park cleanups, or assist with urban development projects. Many of my friends are a part of the NYU Public Service Corps, which creates immersive service experiences across the city. With connections to local businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies, students can apply their knowledge to help develop real-world solutions.

The entrance of The Bowery Mission.
The Bowery Mission, a nonprofit organization.

Service and Residential Life

In my first year at NYU, I was a part of my residence hall floor’s themed engagement community. These communities differ depending on the hall, but my floor’s theme was social justice and advocacy within New York City. This meant that every student on my floor participated in service-based excursions that focused on various issues city residents encounter. We also took the same expository writing course with professors who had experience in politics and institutionalized injustice in the United States. Our professors served as a great resource, and they created many direct learning opportunities for us. During my first-year residential experience, I led community theatre projects, poetry nights, and advocacy events that centered on the city.

The entrance to the Rubin Residence Hall at NYU.
The entrance of NYU’s Rubin Hall.

Through NYU’s commitment to service, students have a wealth of opportunities to learn, grow, and give back. I believe that these experiences not only enrich my academics but also empower me to become a compassionate global citizen. Whether it is through residential life or student-led organizations, NYU students have the flexibility to impact the world both during our time in college and beyond.

Elena Garcia is a junior studying English literature on the prelaw track with minors in Business of Entertainment, Media, and Technology and Social and Cultural Analysis. When she is not giving tours with her fellow admissions ambassadors, she is involved in leading student organizations like Women Founders and Literacy Matters while interning at a variety of law firms around the city. She loves exploring all the beautiful things New York City has to offer whether that be through visiting Broadway Shows, The Metropolitan Opera, art museums, and new dining spots!