Undergraduate Academic Affairs

November 21, 2023

Communities and campus converge at the Community Engagement and Leadership Education Center

Danielle Marie Holland

The Community Engagement and Leadership Education (CELE) Center at the University of Washington recently published its annual report for the 2022-23 academic year. This report is a testament to the remarkable impact and extraordinary achievements made by over 2,000 undergraduate students in leadership development, civic engagement and public service throughout the greater community.

Community engaged learning

The CELE Center’s community engaged learning programs made a profound difference in 1,607 undergraduates’ lives and academic journeys. By serving over 32,000 hours in the community, students gained invaluable real-world experience and made meaningful contributions to society. Undergraduate Community-Based Internship (UCBI) participant Bella Wright, ’23, said, “My time at Neighborhood Legal Clinics has made me feel more connected to my King County community than ever.”

UW students engaged across the Community Engagement and Leadership Education (CELE) Center's programming.

UW students engaged across the Community Engagement and Leadership Education (CELE) Center’s programming.

Leadership education

At the CELE Center, leadership education is a cornerstone of empowering students to become dynamic leaders in their fields. Della Floyd, ‘23, was one of the inaugural students pursuing a minor in leadership. Floyd said, “The minor has helped me to develop language and tools to talk about who I am as a leader, and who I want to be.” Through CELE programs, students honed their leadership skills, fostering personal growth and preparing for a future serving their communities.

Pre-K-12 student success

The CELE Center’s dedication to pre-K-12 student success has had a transformative impact on young learners. Through targeted initiatives and partnerships with local schools, the Center has created opportunities for academic growth, mentorship and guidance, ensuring that every student has the chance to thrive.

Image detailing 14 preschool classroom partners, 7 partner preschool organizations and 250 preschool students served through Jumpstart.

UW Jumpstart recruits and trains UW students to provide language, social-emotional and literacy programming in preschools. Participant Emily Kim, ‘23, said of her experience, “My favorite part of serving with Jumpstart was working with a team that shared the same value of promoting an inclusive and caring community of learners.”

Place-based initiatives

Understanding the importance of community and place, the CELE Center has spearheaded place-based initiatives that connect the UW with local and regional communities in the ongoing and collective efforts to advance equity in education, health and economic opportunities. Riverways Guides impacted 140 K-12 students. “My experience as a transfer student meant that I had to learn about all the steps to higher education on my own”, said one Riverways guide. “I’m really excited to make that process a little easier for younger Native students.”

Through Tent City, the UW community directly engaged with the issues and people impacted by our region’s housing and homelessness crisis. The Othello-UW Commons served as a learning and collaboration space to connect the UW with South Seattle community partners.


“The CELE Center’s commitment to building authentic community and campus partnerships is reflected in the diverse array of programs and initiatives that center both student learning and community impact,” said Francesca Lo, executive director of the CELE Center. “We are proud to remain at the forefront of preparing undergraduates as the next generation of ethical leaders.”

Read the full report here.

About the Community Engagement and Leadership Education (CELE) Center
The Community Engagement and Leadership Education (CELE) Center provides students with opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to contribute to thriving communities; building authentic community and campus partnerships drive the work. CELE Center programs include CELE Fellowships, Community-Engaged Courses, Dream Project, Husky Leadership Initiative, Jumpstart, Othello-UW Commons, Riverways Education Partnerships, and Undergraduate Community Based Internships (UCBI).