Frequently Asked Questions

Will I get to choose the agency I am partnered with?

Students will not get to choose the agency they are partnered with. Students and community partners will have the opportunity to meet and learn about each other, and students will be placed at a site based on a matching process completed by ECC staff. 

What type of work will I be doing with my partner agency?

The type of work depends on the needs of the agency. Current Engaged Citizen Corps members are doing work such as recruiting and training volunteers, creating marketing materials, assisting with evaluation and assessment, planning events, and more. Students will get to experience many aspects of how a non-profit organization is run. Service could be a mix of both hands-on service and behind-the-scenes and administrative tasks. 

Will I need a car?

A car may be required for a few of the sites, but in many cases students will be able to rely on public transportation or even walking/biking.  If you do not have a car, that should not deter you from applying.

What agency will I be partnered with?

Participating agencies change from year to year. In its first year, participating agencies included: Habitat for Humanity, Anawim Housing, Community Housing Initiatives, EMBARC, DMARC, DART, Des Moines Music Coalition, and Rebuilding Together

 What is the time commitment?

The Engaged Citizen Corps is a very serious commitment. Members will complete a 9-month service term, serving 8-10 hours/week, in addition to coursework.  Click here for a sample breakdown of hours. 

 Does that mean I shouldn’t participate in other activities?

You should think carefully about the time commitment of the program and the time commitments of other opportunities you are considering. You may find that participation in a sport or Greek organization may be too much to balance with the Engaged Citizen Corps program and decide to wait until your second year to participate. It is encouraged that students find other student organizations and activities they are interested in. We do recommend that Engaged Citizen Corps members do not have an additional job at the same time as serving in this program. 

How many credits should I take my first semester?

You will want to work with your adviser to determine what is best for you. Keep in mind, you will be taking a 3-credit J-term course, so you may decide to only take 12 credits during your first semester. 

 How should I build my schedule?

It is necessary to have chunks of time available to serve at your site, ideally a minimum of 2-3 hours at a time.  You will need to find 8 hours a week where you will serve on-site, so your class schedule will need to allow for that. Please work with your adviser when registering for classes.

What are the requirements to be an ECC member?

 Will I get paid?

Engaged Citizen Corps members will receive a benefits package of $3,000, including a $1,230.69 AmeriCorps Education Award received at the completion of the program that can be used toward 2nd year tuition, and a $1,769.31 housing scholarship toward room and board (not to exceed full cost of room and board). Members must fulfill program requirements in order to earn the award.

What is the AmeriCorps Education Award?

Individuals who complete a term of service through AmeriCorps are eligible to receive an Education Award that can be applied to tuition and costs to attend college, or student loans. Individuals can earn up to 2 full-time education awards in their lifetime and have up to 7 years to use the award once they've received it. For more information on the AmeriCorps Education Award, visit 

What are the benefits of participating in the program?

What is AmeriCorps?

AmeriCorps is a national service program in which individuals devote part-time or full-time service to their communities. As of 2016, there were more than one million AmeriCorps Alums! For more information on AmeriCorps, visit 

Can I still choose my own roommate?

Yes, while all ECC members will live in the same Residence Hall, they are still able to select their own roommate.