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Research Articles

Vol. 27 No. 1

“When I’m at School, I’m More Than Just a Student…the City Is My City”: Assessing College Student Outcomes in a Community Engagement Immersion Program

February 23, 2021


Community-engaged learning opportunities are increasingly prevalent in higher education. In addition to positive personal growth and learning outcomes, these opportunities allow students to learn about the community surrounding their campus and formulate their own understandings of social responsibility and citizenship. These connections can be especially powerful for students at colleges and universities located in or near urban areas. This study assesses the impact of REAL Dayton, a community engagement immersion program at a midsized Catholic and Marianist university, on students’ attitudes toward and perceptions of their city through pre/post surveys and interviews. The program encourages students to build their knowledge of the city and create sustained relationships with the broader community. This research enhances understandings of the effects and outcomes of community engagement programs for students. Findings demonstrate the impact of community engagement on student knowledge about their city and student perceptions of their own roles as community members.