Center for Community Engagement

The Center for Community Engagement builds deep and meaningful opportunities that promote student learning in the classroom through service with the community, responsible citizenship, character development and connection to the world of work. The Center establishes and maintains mutually beneficial partnerships with nonprofits, international non-governmental organizations, and government agencies in order to meet needs in the community, region and world.

Through participation in its programs, students learn to identify social and environmental issues, resources, assets and cultures in the community, region and the world. Students develop abilities to communicate informed, innovative, and effective action steps for positive change in the community. Students also engage with people who have ideas, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors different from their own as professional members of society. The Center for Community Engagement will challenge students to explore social justice issues, gain international perspective, and practice community building. Through regular service with a community partner, academic community engagement, and alternative breaks any student can participate in Center for Community Engagement programs.



The Bonner Scholars Program provides students who are interested in community service with the financial support needed to attend college and continue to be involved in the community. The Bonner Scholarship is available to students who have a passion for community work and social justice. In addition to service experience, most students must demonstrate financial need as evidenced by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be selected for the program. Bonner Scholars participate in service, leadership development and meetings/trainings for approximately 10 hours a week.

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Service Learning

Frequently asked questions concerning service-learning and the Center for Community Engagement:

Where can we explore service-learning opportunities at Mars Hill?
There are numerous service opportunities in the communities surrounding Mars Hill. You can access information about these opportunities by stopping by the Center for Community Engagement in Wall-Ferguson. Come and see us!

While we’re exploring, how do we know what activities “count” for service-learning?
For the purposes of service-learning at Mars Hill, we define service-learning as any activity which:

  • meets an identified need of a particularly vulnerable part of society and
  • creates opportunities for new learning by stretching you, getting you out of your comfort zone, putting you in contact with people or situations you are unfamiliar with, and enabling you to test out the theories or ideas you encounter in the classroom.

What does it mean to explore the needs of a“vulnerable part of society”?

We recognize vulnerability in those segments of society that are at risk, without all the resources of the more powerful and privileged members of society. Indicators of vulnerability include but are not limited to poverty, discrimination, environmental degradation and threats to health and safety.

G. McLeod Bryan Caring Award

The G. McLeod Bryan Caring Award is given each year to a Mars Hill University student and a faculty/staff member, in recognition of outstanding service to the community. Dr. Bryan (“Mac”) not only worked tirelessly for the cause of peace and justice, but influenced countless others to join the cause during his lifetime (and beyond). From teaching at universities in Europe, Africa, and the United States, to community organizing and church work, to writing, Mac Bryan was a consistent voice for the authentic dream of equality and liberty for all.

Community Partners

The Center for Community Engagement establishes and maintains mutually beneficial partnerships with non-profits and government agencies in order to meet needs in the community, region, and world. These Deep Community Partnerships are multi-year partnerships, and involve at least three meaningful community engagement projects with the site.