Tufts has a reputation for shaping civic leaders who give back to the communities to which they belong, whether those communities are local, national, global, or virtual. Driven by the ideals of human rights and democratic participation, civic leaders take responsibility for addressing the most pressing challenges of our time and improving people's lives.
Tisch College of Civic Life
Many of Tufts University’s community engagement efforts are led by the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, which works to give students the knowledge, skills, and opportunities to solve problems and build a stronger society. Tisch College is a university-wide institution, and all Tufts students can participate in its various initiatives to promote effective and active civic lives: courses, internships, service opportunities, leadership programs, community-based research, funding for independent projects, nonpartisan political engagement, and much more!
Tisch College’s summer internship program provides two-month fellowships in the public and nonprofit sectors that help Tufts students acquire invaluable professional skills and experience while working on an issue they care about. More than 100 fellowships are available in New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C.—from arts and education nonprofits, to government agencies, and organizations focused on health and sustainability. International opportunities are also available, including teaching at a school in India, working at a U.S. embassy, or receiving funding for an independent project abroad. All Tisch Summer Fellows receive a stipend so that they can enjoy these experiences regardless of financial circumstances, and they receive mentorship and support from Tufts alumni and staff.
A nonpartisan, student-led initiative housed at Tisch College, JumboVote seeks to make political learning and engagement and integral part of the Tufts experience, with a special focus on facilitating registration and voting in local, state, and national elections. JumboVote leaders and volunteers organize voter registration drives, issue forums, debate watch parties, poll worker trainings, and other opportunities to participate in the electoral process and to become a more active and informed voter.
Some of the most profound educational experiences take place outside of the classroom. Tisch is proud to offer two unique global opportunities for incoming students to combine academics, a social impact internship, foreign language learning, and cultural immersion in six incredible locations around the world. First-year students may opt to participate in Civic Semester, spending their first semester as a Tufts student engaging in civic learning at an international site, or to participate in the 1+4 Bridge Year Program. Through 1+4, accepted students spend a year between high school and college undertaking full-time community service in areas like education, health, and the environment, before beginning their four years of academic study on the Tufts campus.
Each year, Tisch College and the Office of Undergraduate Education sponsor a common book which is sent to all incoming students. The chosen book explores timely topics in our public life that spur reflection and discussion, and serves as an initial, shared intellectual experience for students. The common book’s author frequently visits campus in the fall semester to deliver a lecture. Recent selections have included Lives in Limbo, The Outrage Industry, and Killers of the Flower Moon.
Tisch College houses the Tufts chapter of Jumpstart, a national early education organization that sends college students into preschool classrooms to help kids with the language and literacy skills they’ll need to succeed. Through Tufts Jumpstart, students can work on the front lines of educational equity, working to close the stubborn achievement gaps that plague children at and underresourced schools.
A joint initiative of Tisch College and the Tufts School of Engineering’s Center for STEM Diversity, STEM Ambassadors are Tufts students who go into schools in Tufts’ host communities to offer presentations and activities that get local students excited about a potential career in the sciences. With a focus on reaching students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in STEM fields, participants in this program offer information, mentorship, and encouragement to young students who will hopefully be the next generation of doctors, computer scientists, and engineers
Student organizations and individual students can apply for Tisch College funding to support their civic engagement projects, events, or research initiatives. Funded programs must identify and address a community need, and preference is given to projects that engage students from across the entire university and/or engage with local organizations or other community partners to effect change.
Tisch College supports various student organizations whose efforts contribute to the mission of improving civic life on campus and beyond. These include Generation Citizen, which sends Tufts students to local schools to teach and lead civics projects; JumboCode, which designs free apps and websites for charities and nonprofits; CIVIC, which promotes healthy political dialogue on campus; and Strong Women Strong Girls, which offers female mentorship and empowerment to girls in Tufts’ host communities. Tisch College also partners with the Leonard Carmichael Society, which serves as the umbrella organization for more than two dozen student community service groups that engage more than 1,000 Jumbo volunteers each year.