NYU student volunteers pose in front of a construction site they’re working on.

NYU students pitch in where they’re needed, and many students volunteer their own time to work toward alleviating poverty, improving public health, feeding the hungry, and preserving the environment for future generations. Here are just a few of the community organizations NYU students engage with:


What: Project OutReach is a service-based program that gives students the opportunity to work with community organizations.

Who: Incoming first-year and transfer students who work with peer mentors.

Two NYU students use rakes to prepare soil for planting in a community engagement project.

Where: In New York City, students worked in a community garden for East New York Farms!, delivered food to the homebound elderly for Citymeals on Wheels, and rebuilt homes destroyed by Hurricane Sandy for Friends of Rockaway. At NYU Shanghai, the 2017 Project OutReach was themed “Food for Love,” which involved baking cookies with students at the Shanghai Pudong Special Education School and making dumplings with elders at the Weifang Community Senior Caring Center.

When: Project OutReach runs in late August as a preorientation program.


What: The Alternative Breaks program sends students across the world to spend their school holidays doing community service.

Who: All NYU students in good standing.

Where: Recently, New York City students traveled to Chicago, where they worked for an agency that combats domestic violence, and Atlanta, where they aided residents of several nursing homes.

When: Alternative Breaks trips take place during winter and spring semester breaks.

NYU student volunteers work together to plant a small tree in the community.


What: A monthlong campaign of educational initiatives at NYU Abu Dhabi aimed at raising the awareness of autism.

The NYU Abu Dhabi campus lit up at night, promoting community engagement through Autism Awareness Month.

Who: All NYU Abu Dhabi students and members of the surrounding community.

Where: Each year on World Autism Awareness Day (April 2), students organize a community walk around the Saadiyat Island campus and provide live music and an array of family-friendly games and activities for students and families. In the past, film screenings, drama workshops, and exhibitions of music and art by children from the Abu Dhabi Center for Autism were also been part of the campaign. The campus buildings are illuminated in blue throughout the month in a show of support for Autism Awareness Month.

When: The month of April.

A group of students smile in front of a CGI University backdrop.


What: CGI University is an annual two-day conference where students are given the opportunity to pitch their community-service ideas to youth organizations and experts, competing for up to $10,000 in seed funding for their projects.

Who: Undergrads from all three campuses—individually and in groups—are eligible.

Where: CGI University is held in a different U.S. city each year. Projects green-lighted in the past include a computer science program for junior high school teachers in Accra, Ghana; a project that helps corporations donate leftover food to social institutions; and an initiative to distribute light bulbs to low-income homes in India.

When: Conferences generally take place in late October.