What We Do

The Carlson Center develops and supports programs designed to incorporate academic coursework with community-based learning and leadership.

When students engage in learning through service, they may realize the context of their civic responsibility and define their roles in society in relation to the names and faces they are working with.


Our Mission

Through campus and community collaborations, together we cultivate knowledge, skills, and capacities that create an equitable and liberated world.

We work to achieve this mission through 3 key actions:

  • In collaboration with instructors and community-based organizations, we coordinate and connect students to community-based experiences in and around Seattle.
  • Cultivate equitable, responsible, and reciprocal relationships between campus and community-based organizations.
  • Attend to the staffing, operational, and growth needs of the Center.

Our Core Values

  • Authentic relationships are rooted in mutual growth and shared benefit; recognize individual and community strengths; are centered on honest feedback and a willingness to be vulnerable; and strive to address interpersonal and institutional power imbalances.
  • Humility is grounded in an awareness and analysis of structural oppression and embodied in a genuine desire to listen first, question assumptions, and honor the leadership and wisdom of community members.
  • Reflective learning facilitates powerful discovery about societal contexts and complexities–creating the space to think critically about how we can individually and collectively work towards social equity.
  • Equity values community-based wisdom and knowledge and seeks to amplify the voices and support the leadership of oppressed individuals, families and communities.

Carlson Center Campus Partners

The Carlson Center is part of UW Undergraduate Academic Affairs in the Center for Experiential Learning (EXPD). EXPD is home to six programs, all of which connect UW students to invigorating, enriching, and expansive learning opportunities. Students can get involved in the community through the Carlson Center, Pipeline Project or Jumpstart, deepen academic inquiry through the Undergraduate Research Program, clarify goals and aspirations by working with the Undergraduate Scholarship Office, and embrace entrepreneurial and civic spirit as a Mary Gates Scholar!