Direct Service

Direct Service is what most people envision when they hear about the "University Community Service Center," and it has been at the core of UCSC's work since its founding as an informal association of students in 1992.  Direct service refers to the short- or long-term donation of time and talent to directly support the social change activities of a community-based organization.  Unlike capacity building activities, direct service has an immediate impact either on persons seeking services, or on the facilities and infrastructure used to provide those services.


UCSC offers a wide range of opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and community members to get involved in direct service.

  • Regular days of service give students the chance to do single-day service projects with their friends or house-mates.  In many cases, these service days also include opportunities for community-building and reflection; sometimes they are thematically linked to a current event or pressing social justice issue.
  • For students looking to get involved in regular or occasional volunteering quickly, UCSC regularly lists available volunteer opportunities with partner organizations in the UCSC Digest, published two-three times each quarter.  To subscribe to the Digest mailing list, click here.
  • For students looking for a more personalized recommendation about how their talents and time could best serve the local community, UCSC staff offer one-on-one service match consultations throughout the academic year.  Click here to learn more.
  • Many students looking to get involved in their community find great opportunities through various CSRSOs (Community Service Recognized Student Organizations) or other student organizations supported by offices like Spiritual Life, the Center for Leadership and Involvement, or the Center for Identity + Inclusion.

Beyond UChicago, the city offers thousands of opportunities for citizens to get involved in direct service.  Organizations like ChicagoCares can help to connect your good will with opportunities near you around the city; closer to home, local houses of worship or nonprofit chambers of commerce are often great ways to find out about projects in your neighborhood, as are local news outlets (including print resources and digital sources like DNAInfo and EveryBlock).