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Community Engagement FAQ for Cohort 2018 to 2022

At SUSS, Community Engagement is conceived as an integral part of the University's learning ecology and as a process to empower students to further develop and act on their sense of social responsibility, grounded in real-world ideas and practices to contribute meaningfully to society. Community Engagement is an experiential graduating requirement of SUSS full-time degree programmes.

Community Engagement is an educational experience and process by which community groups and individuals build sustained relationships, applying collective vision for the benefit of the community. Through Community Engagement, students learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully-organised service experiences that meet actual community needs and that are coordinated in collaboration with the university and community. It creates a connection between the university and the community, where the community is invited as co-educators to facilitate cross-sector collaboration and shared resources that help to enhance society's well-being and guide students in their journey of growth to become leaders in society.

To enable meaningful contribution to society, students are expected to research, discuss and propose a Community Engagement collaboration in consultation with community partners.

To enable students to do the above, all students undergo a pre-engagement Foundations of Community Engagement online course with the following learning objectives:

  1. Clarify personal values;
  2. Develop a working knowledge of the basic principles and theories of community engagement;
  3. Apply Kolb's Experiential Learning Cycle in reflecting on community engagement;
  4. Identify good practices and case studies in collaborating with the community; and
  5. Framework for managing community engagement collaborations.

Subsequently, students could research and understand more deeply about a social issue of their interest. Leveraging on individuals' strengths, skills and/or professional major, students will propose a sustainable Community Engagement endeavour that meets the needs identified by their local community partner over a period required by the community partner. In return, the community partner collaborates with SUSS Service-Learning to mentor students in both project and personal development.

At SUSS, we value Student Voice as a key element of Community Engagement. Therefore, SUSS emphasises student autonomy, empowering students to propose self-directed and self-driven Community Engagement initiatives, around the multiple options provided. No one Community Engagement pathway is considered better than the other – the important thing is to prioritise the needs of the community in determining an appropriate initiative, and to balance the needs of the community with a commitment level that is also realistic, achievable and sustainable for you.

The community engagement experiential graduation requirement for students from Cohort 2018 onwards may be fulfilled through one of seven Community Engagement pathways:

  1. Community Service-Learning
  2. Community Engaged Work
  3. Social Entrepreneurship
  4. Community Engaged Project
  5. Community Engaged Applied Research
  6. Community Engaged Course
  7. Global Service-Learning

Regardless of the pathway, consider a sustainable and global outlook to the potential impact and benefits that your initiative may result in, both locally and globally. Your efforts and commitment in serving the local community may be situated in the larger context of the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals to transform our world.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of suggested social sectors that you may consider proposing a Community Engagement initiative.

  • Ageing & Elderly 
  • Arts & Culture/Heritage
  • Children & Youth
  • Community-building (e.g. active citizenship, active contribution to SUSS community, etc.)
  • Diversity & Inclusion (e.g. human rights, special needs, disabilities, women's rights, migrant workers, new communities, interfaith understanding, ex-offenders, etc.)
  • Environment & Sustainability (e.g. animal welfare, food security, resource use & consumption, conservation & management, etc.)
  • Health & Well-being (e.g. mental health, drugs & substance abuse, personal financial management, etc.)
  • Poverty (e.g. single parent families, silent workers, etc.) 


Past Volunteering Experience

Yes, you still need to. While SUSS values students' prior community engagement, volunteer work undertaken prior to students' completion of SUSS's Foundations of Community Engagement e-module cannot be considered towards fulfilment of the Community Engagement experiential graduation requirement.

Yes. If you have previously volunteered/interned or are currently volunteering/interning with a social service organisation/non-profit organisation/social enterprise, you may consider proposing a Community Engagement collaboration with the same organisation in fulfilment of your Community Engagement experiential graduation requirement. As with all other Community Engagement proposals, acceptance of your proposed Community Engagement collaboration is dependent on approval from both your proposed community partner and SUSS SL.

Community Engagement Requirements

At SUSS, we value Community Voice as a key element of Community Engagement. Therefore, there is no minimum number of hours that you have to fulfil. The rationale for this is to empower you to negotiate a Community Engagement commitment with your community partner that prioritises the needs of the community over institution-mandated requirements.

For documentation purposes, student leaders are encouraged to record the number of hours served by their team members. However, the number of service hours are not taken into consideration in the assessment of your Community Engagement experiential graduation requirement.

The fulfilment of Community Engagement experiential graduating requirement differs according to the option(s) you have chosen.

The duration of engagement should be an agreement between you and your community partner based on the principle of serving the needs of the community and balancing what you can achieve on a sustainable basis. For example, you may adjust your group's involvement during the exam period, provided your community partner is agreeable.

Beyond SUSS’ experiential graduation requirement, however, you are highly encouraged to embark on more than one option of Community Engagement OR continue your Community Engagement commitment beyond the agreed duration, preparing yourselves for active and fulfilling lives through a lifelong commitment to contributing meaningfully to society.

Preparation for Community Engagement 

Before embarking on a Community Engagement initiative with a new community partner, here are some questions you may consider:

  • Alignment
    • Does my proposed new initiative match the needs identified by the community? Is it meaningful to the community?
    • Does the proposed community engagement align with the key elements of Community Engagement? Is the engagement meaningful to the participants? Is learning inherent in the service?
    • Does the engagement leverage on the skills and knowledge of the team? Does my team have the requisite skills? If not, can training be arranged, or am I able to recruit others with the necessary skills?

  • Conflict of Interest
    • Is the organisation secular and non-partisan (i.e. not associated with a political party)?
    • Is my proposed Community Partner Mentor an existing full-time SUSS student, or any other individual with a potential conflict of interest (e.g. immediate family member)?

  • Support & Relationships
    • Does the community agency have the capacity to work with my group? Will our presence be a burden or help to the staff?
    • Is the initiative manageable? Are there any safety, national or international standards to adhere to in the execution of this initiative?
    • Do I have access to the resources (physical, social, administrative, time, funds, etc.) required for this initiative?

  • Sustainability through Community Empowerment
    • Does the engagement empower the community to continue the work to serve themselves and others?

The minimum number for each initiative is one person. There is no maximum number. The number of team members should be negotiated in consultation with your community partner.

Based on the needs of the community, you should recruit the appropriate number of team members to be able to perform meaningful service. We should not burden the community partner to accept more members than they are willing and able to. For group projects, taking into account meaningful contribution by each team member and the team dynamics, it is recommended that each project should have no more than 20 members.

No, the choice is yours. You may choose to work with like-minded peers, or collaborate with others beyond SUSS.

Yes, the choice is yours. You may choose to embark on Community Engagement either as:

  1. an individual;
  2. a team comprising only SUSS members; 
  3. a team comprising non-SUSS members; or
  4. a team comprising both SUSS and non-SUSS members.

The choice to engage the community as an individual or as a team (and if as a team, who the members should comprise) should best reflect the needs of the community you are choosing to engage with.

In other words, choose to collaborate as a team, if a team is necessary to carry out the service required by the community, and choose to collaborate with members who will best bring the skillsets and attitudes that are beneficial to the community you are working with.

Yes, this is aligned with the principle of sustainability that we encourage. Please submit the SUSS CE Proposal form so that we can liaise with your community partner for project and personal development. In addition, you should consider how you can deepen your involvement in the social issue that you are passionate about.

You are encouraged to start the community engagement journey and submit your SUSS CE Proposal as soon as possible, preferably by the 2nd semester of Year 1 study, and no later than Semester 1 of Year 3 study.

We encourage you to dig deep and think about the social issues or causes that matter personally to you. If you have not found any peers who are initiating something you are interested in, why not consider initiating one yourself? You can approach your CE Cohort Coordinators for consultations.

Alternatively, you may want to approach your Community Engagement from the perspective of addressing the most pressing social needs in our society today. 

Yes, this is subject to the agreement of the Community Engagement group and their community partner. For official acknowledgement of the addition of new member(s) the group leader should inform their SUSS staff advisor and attach the community partner’s official acknowledgement of the participation of the new member(s) as soon as possible.

You can check out the announcement page of CE100 course on Canvas and look for postings that indicate as [CE Opportunity] or the CE Opportunities page on CE Fair 2021 website. You can find more information on existing community partners that other SUSS students are working with here.

Yes, you are highly encouraged to embark on more than one option of Community Engagement to prepare yourselves for active and fulfilling lives through a lifelong commitment to contributing meaningfully to society.

SUSS Service-Learning has curated a range of scholarships and grants from government agencies, corporations and foundations to minimise any financial barriers while serving the community. You can access this link to find out more information about funding application.

You should inform your student leader and communicate with your community partner to request for permission to withdraw from the group. If the community partner chooses to write an acknowledgement of your past commitments to the organisation, you may then submit your commitment in fulfilment of your Community Engagement experiential graduation requirement.

However, if your first community partner chooses not to acknowledge your prior engagement due to non-completion of the original agreement, you will need to commit afresh to another Community Engagement initiative (inclusive of any pre-service training, if applicable) with the new community partner.

Affected student(s) and student leaders must update their Staff Advisor as soon as such a change is being made.

For room reservation, you should email your SUSS Staff Advisor at least 4 working days in advance with the following details:

  1. Name of event
  2. Nature of event (only CE related activities will be approved)
  3. Date & Time of event
  4. Number of attendees (any public guests?)
  5. Arrangement of room (please provide a floor plan if you have specific room arrangement)
  6. Any logistics required

Refer to the CE100 Foundations of Community Engagement module on Canvas for information on FAQs, the relevant documents and forms to be submitted, the submission procedure and assessment guidelines.

Submission of the documents is to be done by the Group Leader for group projects.

Before project begins
  • Pass CE100 Quiz 
  • Community Engagement Proposal Form*
  • Acknowledgement of Risks, Waiver of Liability, Consent and Release Form
After the project ends
  • Community Engagement Closure Report* 
  • Self & Mentor Evaluation* 
6 months before filing for graduation 
  • Upload CE Portfolio to Portfolium 

*Note: Requires endorsement by CP Mentor 

You may contact SUSS Service-Learning at or approach your Cohort Coordinator or Staff Advisor for further clarification.

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