COVE Philosophy - Volunteering - Community Service Skip Navigation

About the Max A. Shacknai COVE

As the center of student service and volunteering at Colgate, our four-square philosophy aims to create the belief among students that doing something is the first step; to teach life skills; and to work with the students toward social change.


The Max A. Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism and Education seeks to foster a commitment to social responsibility and community engagement among the Colgate community through mutually beneficial, community-centered partnerships.

Learning Goals:
  • Increase self-awareness and commitment to social responsibility
  • Initiate authentic community relationships
  • Design an action plan to affect social change
  • Create a plan to activate experience in home or campus community

Our Philosophy

Direct Service
When you think of community service, you likely are thinking about direct service. Serving the homeless in a soup kitchen, tutoring a child, volunteering at the fire department, or assisting the elderly at a retirement community are all manifestations of direct service.
Campus Impact
The university setting is a vibrant environment that poses many opportunities to experience service. We're here to encourage everyone on campus to get involved.

COVE teams are constantly in partnership with other groups around campus - Colgate Activities Board, the ALANA Cultural Center, religious lifeathletics, and fraternity and sorority life, to name a few.

Student Growth
Community service isn't just about helping those who are disadvantaged; it is also about the learning, enjoyment, skills, and experiences of the volunteers. Community service presents innumerable opportunities for you to grow as a leader. Many of our volunteers claim to learn as much from their work with the COVE as they do in a class.
Social Change
What is community service if it's not done because you care? Meaningful service work involves a greater goal. We combine all of the direct service we perform, the partners we work with, and the strength of our leaders to promote real social change in the world. Lobbying politicians, enacting new campaigns, and sponsoring lectures by political figures are just a few of the things we encourage you to do!

Guiding Questions

We are working across campus to ensure that our students, faculty, and administrators are asking questions and taking actions to move us toward a stronger, better community. Through student groups, classes, residential living, and summer fellowships, we are working to renew democratic life and social stewardship at Colgate. Below are a list of questions and actions that guide who we are and what we do:
1. In what ways am I leading my campus in articulating and in implementing a civic mission that prepares our students and our faculty for engaged citizenship?
2. How well do our campus co-curricular activities provide opportunities for civic engagement? Do these activities include participation in political campaigns and/or other change-oriented activities?
3. To what extent are students and faculty able to interact with aspects of public culture, civic arguments, and discussions on the meaning of their learning, their work, and their institution as a whole?
4. How well does our campus provide opportunity for faculty to create, to participate in, and to take responsibility for a vibrant public culture on campus?
5. Is our campus diverse? How do we enable students and faculty to encounter and to learn from others different from themselves in experience, in culture, in racial background, in gender, in sexual orientation, in ideologies, and in views?
6. Are students given multiple opportunities to do work of citizenship, which will impact their academic learning experience?
7. To what extent do our co-curricular activities include a regular time and place for reflection about oneself and about the world around him/her?
8. To what extent do our career advisers provide opportunities for public service and nonprofit career choices?
9. Is our faculty engaged with students in a sustained conversation over the need to develop student citizenship skills and to debate what those skills and habits are and how they might be developed?
10. What can I do TODAY with others to move our campus forward on all of these questions?

Annual Report

While we are a forward-looking organization on campus, we do take the time to reflect on our past experiences to see how we can grow in the future.