Concern for the common good

Tutor children at local elementary schools. Take a course that connects classroom learning with societal issues. Raise money with sororities and fraternities fundraising for a children’s hospital. Participate in an alternate break helping a community devastated by a natural disaster. Construct walls, lay shingles or install siding during a house build with Elon’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Service opportunities are plentiful at Elon. The university is committed to community engagement and fulfilling our mission to prepare students to be global citizens and informed leaders motivated by concern for the common good.


Student volunteers gather for a photo in a blueberry field and have large blue buckets in front of them.
Kernodle Center for Civic Life

Addressing local and global challenges

Kernodle Center for Civic Life motivates, educates and prepares students for partnerships with diverse communities to address local and global challenges, and gain a deeper understanding of their responsibility to actively contribute to civic life. The center serves as the convener of community-based engaged and experiential student learning opportunities in collaboration with faculty, staff and community partners to address the common good.

Parker Fairfield poses for a photo with colorful trees and grass behind her.
Parker Fairfield ’24

A real sense of purpose

During Parker Fairfield’s first year at Elon in 2020, she took a service-learning class that required her to spend 30 hours engaging with local education programs. A challenge in the midst of a global pandemic, but she still managed to split her time between the Boys and Girls Club and It Takes a Village Project, a reading initiative spearheaded by the Center for Access and Success at Elon. Parker, a psychology major, became an America reads tutor her sophomore year and is now a student coordinator of that program through Elon Volunteers!

“Working with children has always been a passion of mine and getting to have a direct impact on student’s learning was so meaningful and gave me a real sense of purpose and connection in a time in which opportunities for that were incredibly limited.”

75%of Elon students participate in service
1,000,000+hours of service
70student leaders run Elon Volunteers!
Emanuel Sanchez sits on a couch wearing a black Elon University jacket.
Emanuel Sanchez ’24

Uplifting others

Armed with a sense of community instilled by his upbringing, Emanuel “Manny” Sanchez consistently focuses on enhancing the lives of those around him through service and volunteer opportunities. He is a student coordinator in El Centro, chapter president of Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, Inc., and treasurer for the Latinx-Hispanic Student Union. He also volunteers at CityGate Dream Center’s after-school program weekly with Elon’s Kernodle Center for Civic Life.

“I love working with middle and high school students. They remind me of myself when I was younger, so I get excited about connecting with the students and becoming a mentor.”

A group of volunteers wearing hair nets pose for a photo in an industrial kitchen.
Signature Programs

Serving the community

More than 125 partner organizations work with the Kernodle Center through five signature programs:

  • Community-Based Learning: combining learning with community needs as an integrated component of an academic course.
  • Elon Volunteers!: providing opportunities to engage with diverse communities and actively contribute to civic life.
  • Campus Kitchen: preparing and delivering meals for local residents experiencing food insecurity in partnership with Elon Dining.
  • Elon Votes!: providing students with resources to vote and learn about issues at stake in local, state and national elections.
  • Habitat for Humanity: committing to help build one house each academic year as one of the country’s most active chapters.
Maddie Johnson holds up a plant in one of the greenhouses on Loy Farm.
Maddie Johnson ’24

The impact of service

Maddie Johnson, a senior public health and environmental and ecological science major, serves as the executive director for outreach and collaboration for the Kernodle Center for Civic Life at Elon. In the role, Maddie creates strategies to connect with and retain student volunteers and promotes deeper engagement in the Elon Volunteers! program. During her four years at Elon, Johnson served as farm shift and cooking coordinator for Campus Kitchen and has supported the Rise Against Hunger event held every fall.

“From the staff mentorships to the overall comfort the community and office environment provides, it has encouraged me to pursue a master’s in higher education. That’s how much impact the Kernodle Center has had on me.”

Xuan-Huyn stands in between brick colonnades holding a sign that says a matter of integrity.
Xuan Huynh ’24

Creating a more inclusive campus

After arriving at Elon as a Business Fellow, Xuan Huynh began seeking ways to serve historically and presently marginalized students. She joined the Center for Race, Ethnicity and Diversity Education as a student coordinator. She’s also a member of the Asian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern and North African Task Force, which aims to identify strategies and organize support for those communities at Elon. Xuan, a finance and data analytics double major, uses her time to create social good and a more inclusive campus for all students.

“Success has never been about wealth for me. I would like to influence people to assist with generosity. For me, it’s simply a matter of integrity.”