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Community Engagement is part of the fabric of Drake University as shown in our mission, continuous improvement plan, and values. More than 80% of our students have a community service or service-learning experience by the time they graduate and approximately 70% of our faculty and staff are engaged in the local community through serving on boards, actively volunteering with a community organization, or supporting different professional development associations.

 The Office of Community Engaged Learning & Service provides Drake students with countless opportunities to make a difference in Des Moines and the Drake Neighborhood. This relationship strengthens the schools, nonprofits, and neighborhoods with which students work, and prepared Drake students to be civic-minded professionals in their own communities. 

The following is a sampling of our Community Engagement & Service-Learning programming:

Engaged Citizen Corps is an intentionally designed academic + service year for first year students that connects them with a local community agency working on economic and community development projects focused on housing, safety, health, education, arts & culture, and business cultivation. 

The Community Action Poverty Simulation is meant to help sensitize participants to the struggles people in poverty face on a daily basis. Volunteers are needed each fall to assist in offering the simulation to campus. (If you are a community group looking to host the simulation for your group, please contact Center for Social Ministry or Central Iowa Works). 

Next Course Food Recovery is a student organization that partners with Sodexo to recover food from dining halls and catering events to take to local community agencies. 

Sprout: The Des Moines Urban Youth Learning Garden is a community garden located on the corner of Drake’s campus, and is partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of Central Iowa (BGCCI).

Community Action Board: CAB is a student-run organization that seeks to engage students in meaningful service and collaborative initiatives that inspire them to strengthen relationships with the communities of which they are a part. 

CAB's Neighborhood Walking Tour. The Neighborhood Walking Tour is an opportunity to experience all of the great amenities the neighborhood has to offer. You'll hear about the excellent local restaurants, the impactful service opportunities, and some of our most prized community partners in this short tour around historic Dogtown. If you're interested in your group taking a tour sponsored by Community Action Board, please email

Monroe Bulldog Buddies: Be a mentor to an elementary school student in our own backyard. Minimum time commitment is 2 hours a month (1 hour twice a month). Contact for more information or to sign up. 

Little Free Pantry Project goes by the motto of "take what you need, leave what you can." In partnership with the LEAD concentration and many others, two Little Free Pantries can be found on Drake's campus and another eight in the Drake Neighborhood.

IRISStudent volunteers read and record the news for those who are visually impaired in Iowa. 

Community News