Common Partners

Founded over 100 years ago, Union College has always had a strong interest in service to the community. Our roots are strong in community outreach and service learning, as the college was initially established as a service to Southeastern Kentucky in providing well-trained teachers to the area. Since the college’s inception, students have been involved in service to Knox County and the surrounding Appalachian region. The Appalachia Service Project, now a well-known non-profit organization, was founded here in 1969. Then, ALCOR, Appalachian Leadership and Community Outreach banded students together to serve. In 1995, SHARE (Students Helping and Reaching Everyone) was formed and became the backbone for the Community Outreach Center. That center was renamed the Common Partners Office in 1999 to recognize our work as partners with our community to serve with, not for, each other.

Today, the Union College Center for Civic Engagement plans a variety of events throughout the year in which students, faculty, and staff members can become involved and work together within the Knox County community 


The Civic Engagement Program is a tool for you to become a better world citizen and to assist you in organizing opportunities for community service and social justice.   The program offers reflection activities to help you understand your service experiences in relation to your responsibilities as a citizen.   It aids you in understanding the reasons that you serve and how you can continue in service after graduation. Throughout your work with the program, you develop an understanding of leadership, the process of leadership, and development of leadership skills related to serving the community.   You will get the opportunity to work alongside the faculty on course development initiatives wour service, training, and reflection, we hope that through the program you will develop an understanding and appreciation for:

Civic Engagement - Participate intentionally as a citizen in the democratic process, actively engaging in public policy and  direct service

Community Building – Establish and sustain a vibrant community of place, personal relationships and common interests

Diversity – Respect the many different dimensions of diversity in our public lives

International Perspective – Develop international understanding that enables students to participate fully in a global society

Social Justice – Advocate for fairness, impartiality, and equality while addressing systemic social and environmental issues.

Spiritual Exploration – Explore personal beliefs while respecting the spiritual practices of others.

Scholarship Outreach

In 2006, a scholarship program was established for students involved in service learning and civic engagement.  This Scholarship is awarded to students who are committed to service, while furthering their education. The program represents some of the best and brightest students of Union College who work, individually and as a team, to “change the world through service.”   Each year, we select a small number of students in the spring to receive scholarships for community outreach.  They are selected at the discretion of the Director of the Service Learning and Leadership.


Applications are sent out to the student body via email in the spring semester. For more information please contact Jodi Carroll, Director of Service Learning and Leadership.


Academic and Financial Outreach

The Center for Civic Engagement awards up to ten (10) $2,000 scholarships a year. These awards are given to students who demonstrate both financial need and outstanding commitment to community service. 

Scholars are awarded on an individual basis.  Scholars will be awarded over the course of the academic year and it is applied directly to the student’s college account.   Should a student choose to leave or be dismissed from the program for any reason, the student will not continue to receive scholarship in the next semester.

School Year Requirements

During the course of fall and spring semesters, each student receiving scholarship has a number or requirements. At the end of each semester, depending on their scholarship amount, students should have completed a minimum of 280, 140, or 70 hours of service.  This service is completed at a non-profit site and also includes bi-weekly meetings and leadership workshops. Students are also required to participate in a number of school related activities which include; Daniel Boone Festival, Hunger Banquet, and Repair Affair.  Details of all requirements are given at the August Orientation and Training session which happens a week before school begins. 

Service is Everywhere

Civic Engagement is everywhere.   You meet Union service leaders every day, in every country, around the world.   These individuals take the time to reach out to the community around them.   This program has had some very caring individuals come through and students and staff have also met so many on our travels. 

One of our many internal projects for the program is to start building our Civic Engagement Alumni Network for the graduating seniors to have access to as they head out into the real world.   We would like to put together an Alumni booklet that tells:

If you work with any Organizations/Non-Profits:
What you have been doing since Common Partners:


Information can be sent to Jodi Carroll by email at or by phone at 606-546-1278