Students working at a Feed the Need event.

Service and Volunteering

North Central students spend more than 30,000 hours annually serving alongside local, national and international communities. In student clubs, courses, or teams, you’ll have the chance to work with our partner organizations in Naperville, Aurora, Chicago and beyond to understand, learn and make a difference.

Student Organizations

Whether you’re interested in making a difference around town or around the world, you'll have numerous opportunities to serve.  Check out a full list of student groups here.

  • BREAKAWAY: From the Chicago area to the Appalachian Mountains to developing nations overseas, students have the opportunity to travel and serve during academic breaks through BREAKAWAY. Recent BREAKAWAY trips include Nicaragua, New York, Peru, Virginia, El Salvador, Louisiana and Colorado.
  • Cardinals in Action: Our affiliated chapter of Circle K International, Cardinals in Action rallies students to volunteer and serve in our local communities.
  • Green Scene is dedicated to environmental education through on-campus activities and local environmental service projects.
Students raising a wall at a Habitat for Humanity project.

Funding Opportunities

If you want to focus on a specific area of interest or involvement, we want to help.

  • With the Mironda Heston Grant, students propose and implement a customized project in a local or international community. The grant provides up to $2,500 and the opportunity to explore a life of humanitarian service. Learn more on the Mironda Heston Grant web page.
  • Big Idea Grants can help students answer the question, “What if?” What if I could sit down for coffee with a leading non-profit director to learn about how to launch and run a humanitarian organization? What if I could pay for that webinar or weekend training course to better understand poverty and community development? Big Idea Grants are small amounts of money that can lead to big change.
North Central students with local children in Nicaragua.

Courses to Consider

Explore courses in our Leadership, Ethics and Values program that help you understand how to best serve and lead in your community:

LEAD 100 - Design Thinking for Social Impact

LEAD 220 - Leadership for Changemaking

LEAD 320 - Ethical Leadership

A group of students outside Hesed House homeless shelter.


Combine your love for service with your area of academic study and find your dream career. You can intern with local non-profit organizations and explore short- or long-term service opportunities after graduation. Get connected to:

  • Local non-profits like Hesed House, World Relief and Little Friends
  • Post-graduation service opportunities like the Peace Corps, Teach for America and AmeriCorps
Volunteers in a soup kitchen.