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What Does It Mean to be a DukeEngage Community Partner?

Since its launch in 2007, all DukeEngage service has been “community driven,” meaning that all of our programs — whether they are group programs or independent projects — are guided by needs and issues as defined by the people who represent the organizations with whom our students work. These individuals, whom we call our community partners, work alongside program leadership, acting as co-educators during our immersive summer programs.

  • DukeEngage faculty and staff work directly with community partners to identify areas of potential student contribution.
  • Our community partners help program directors determine specific student placements.
  • Our community partners serve as “co-educators” with DukeEngage faculty, teaching concrete skills to students and building their cultural competencies.
  • At the end of each summer program, community partners evaluate their experience with our students and with our staff through surveys.
  • More recently, community partners have participated as researchers by contributing to our efforts to identify effective practices for immersive service programs.

DukeEngage welcomes the opportunity to work in close collaboration with organizations across the world — from local nonprofits to global NGOs and third-party providers. If your organization has an interest in working with DukeEngage, please send us an email.

In 2015, DukeEngage invited dozens of their community partners for a conference on immersion learning practices. During the conference, partners had a chance to discuss the impact that the DukeEngage program has had on their organizations and communities.

Info for Community Partners

DukeEngage provides one-time funding for Duke undergraduates who wish to pursue an immersive service experience for a minimum of eight weeks, by meeting a community need in the United States or abroad. Students each year participate in a vast range of civic engagement activities, including environmental advocacy, community outreach, global health, education, social justice and more. Since 2007, students have:

  • launched mentoring and school enrichment programs
  • created community support initiatives
  • designed health education and outreach programs
  • improved a community’s health information infrastructure
  • produced environmental education documentaries
  • developed microfinance opportunities for disadvantaged women and families

These projects and many others have taken place in more than 76 nations around the world, including 35 cities in the U.S., serving more than 600 community organizations on six continents.

Please note: DukeEngage provides students with funding for transportation and living expenses for the duration of their projects. As such, DukeEngage volunteers should not receive compensation from community partners. However, students’ funding is not intended to support material costs to implement projects.

Questions? Please email questions to

DukeEngage independent projects are designed by students in collaboration with partner organizations they wish to support. Students works with organizations to set specific goals for their projects based on the needs of the organization and the skills and experience students can volunteer. DukeEngage provides full funding allowing the students to travel to, live and work at the location of their partner organization.

Click here to learn more about projects completed by DukeEngage independent participants in the past.

Community Partners commit to:

  • work with the student to design a suitable project
  • provide meaningful, clearly defined work that utilizes the student’s skills in a full time capacity (35-40 hours/week)
  • complete a Verification Letter informing DukeEngage of their expectations for the DukeEngage volunteer
  • if required, provide a letter in support of their volunteer’s visa. DukeEngage obtains visas for all participants
  • provide ongoing supervision and feedback the throughout the project
  • help their student volunteer adjust to living and working within the host community
  • complete a survey at the end of the project to provide feedback to DukeEngage

DukeEngage independent participants are required to:

  • design their project in collaboration with, and based on the requests of, their partner organization or host community
  • work with their partner organization for eight weeks or more, contributing approximately 35-40 work hours each week
  • support one or more projects planned with their partner and described in the student’s application
  • meet with their community partner supervisor regularly to evaluate progress toward goals
  • respect the professional and cultural practices of their host organization and community
  • receive no compensation for work. Participants receive stipends from DukeEngage to cover their living expenses
  • DukeEngage volunteers should not engage in providing medical care to patients or or participate in proselytizing activities and religious instruction
  • DukeEngage volunteers are not permitted to cross borders or travel after their project’s end date