Student Initiatives

The Center for Social Concern advises and supports over 50 student initiatives, many of which perform direct service in partnership with community based organizations across Baltimore City. These groups are entirely student-led and dedicated student leaders invest hundreds of hours annually into ensuring the continued operations and successes of these vital community programs.

The Center also has a network of student interns who are instrumental in helping support the CSC’s initiatives and programs. Learn more about these positions by visiting our leadership opportunities page and meet some of our student leaders!

Have questions about student initiatives? Contact Caroline Ouwerkerk, Assistant Director, or drop by and chat with us during walk-in office hours.

Student Initiatives

The Center for Social Concern’s three different student initiatives allow for a more tailored advising support while meeting the needs of our students and partners. To support this diversified structure of student led activities, we offer the following three initiatives:

  1. Student Groups
  2. Event Based Service Programs (more information coming soon)
  3. Baltimore First Individualized Direct Service Program

To learn more about each student initiative, view the descriptions below.

View Student Initiative Descriptions

Student GroupEvent-Based Service ProgramBaltimore First Individualized Direct Service Site
Who?All groups that perform regular group-based direct service to the Baltimore communityAll groups that perform group-based direct service through the development and execution of semesterly or annual eventsIndividuals or groups of individuals who participate in a direct service commitment with a specific service site in the Baltimore community
What do we expect?

  • Primary Function- direct service
  • On-campus presence through general meetings, social events, and issue education
  • Attend all trainings, comply with reporting requirements, and exhibit sound fiscal management

  • Primary Function--organizing events whose primary beneficiary is an off-campus population
  • Events align with group's mission and are demonstrated to provide services and/or benefits
  • Comply with reporting requirements and exhibit sound fiscal management

  • Commit to regular direct service to a community partner/service site for a semester or school year
  • Likely be in small groups/cohorts
  • Attend required trainings and reflections by the CSC
What will service look like?

  • Maintain consistent and active volunteer membership. “Active membership” defined by group
  • Primary volunteer effort is strong direct service responding to a community-identified need
  • No (or few) fundraisers/awareness events
Primary work of group is planning and executing events (no service in interim) responding to a community-identified needService activities driven by demonstrated partner need; with each volunteer making a semester-long commitment to one service site
What will we provide?Assigned advisor, funding, and office supportAssigned advisor, funding, and office supportSite leader, group reflection,and transportation
What will you learn?Strong direct service; Reflection; Student group organization and volunteer managementEvent planning, fundraising, volunteer managementSustained strong direct service, reflection, meaningful community partnerships

Students interested in starting a new initiative, have the ability to submit an annual proposal. Read more about starting a new student initiative or visit our frequently asked questions to learn more. If these opportunities don’t catch your eye, learn more about other CSC’s programs that will allow you to engage with Hopkins and Baltimore communities.

Requirements, Guidelines, and Resources

All recognized Center for Social Concern student initiatives are expected to meet the minimum criteria provided as outlined in the student initiatives descriptions above. They must follow the University and Center for Social Concern’s policies and procedures and log their service hours through Track it Forward. Each year, student initiatives must complete the relevant re-registration process which is typically held March 1-April 1. Funding allocations will be determined by specific student initiative in consultation with the Civic Engagement Recognition and Allocations Commission. Read more below about the Commission and funding allocation process.


Transportation and Lyft Rides

To support student initiatives’ transportation needs, the CSC encourages you to use Lyft Rides. This program benefits your student initiative by offering flexible transportation, all without need for reimbursement! Read the frequently asked Lyft ride questions to submit a Lyft ride code request.

Guidelines for Summer Service

Below are guidelines for student initiatives during the summer period.

Timeline Overview:
Academic Year Period: August 15, 2018 through May 3, 2019
Summer 2019: May 15 through August 15

  • During the summer period 2018, expenses for CSC student initiatives will be charged to a special “CSC Summer Service” account. Individual initiative budgets will not be charged for summer expenses. Note that students should not charge this account for any academic year period expenses.
  • Summer 2019 expenses will be requested by groups as part of their 2019-2020 Annual Allocations request

Summer 2018 Guidelines:

  • During summer 2018, the CSC will process purchase requests only. Purchase requests may be submitted through this form on Hopkins Groups or click the blue button below.
  • The CSC strongly discourages students from acquiring out of pocket expenses, and thus reimbursement requests will only be processed when students have gotten pre-approval or in the event of an emergency.
  • Groups should use the Lyft program and HopVans in order to have transportation expenses directly billed to the CSC. In addition, there are free transportation options (the Charm City Circulator and the JHMI) that continue to run throughout the summer.
  • As a reminder, CSC funding comes from an endowment that is restricted only to expenses related to direct service in Baltimore City. CSC’s and Student Leadership and Involvement’s normal policies and procedures regarding purchases—with exception of reimbursement procedures—are still in effect.
  • Volunteers should continue to log their service hours through Track it Forward. Track it Forward is the university’s official record of student volunteer hours.

Submit Summer Service Purchase Request

Important Dates

Important 2018 Dates

Workshops on new initiative application process & group re-registrationFebruary
New student initiative applications acceptedMarch 1-16
Existing CSC initiatives re-registration period March 1-April 1
Prospective new initiative presentations to Civic Engagement Recognition and Allocations CommissionWeeks of March 26 and April 2
CSC groups annual allocations meetingSaturday, April 7
Annual allocations decisions communicatedWednesday, April 11
New initiatives announcedSunday, April 15
Appeals re: prospective initiative application or annual allocation decision must be submittedFriday, April 20
Annual allocations fund and prospective initiatives application appeals meeting Week of April 23
All prospective initiatives notified of status.
annual allocations approved for all groups
By Tuesday, May 1

Civic Engagement Recognition and Allocations Commission

The Civic Engagement Recognition and Allocations Commission strives to increase student input and enhance transparency in the student initiative recognition and funding process. The Commission consists of 7 members: 5 student commissioners and 2 CSC staff members.

Meet the 2018-2019 Commission

View members of the Civic Engagement Recognition and Allocations Commission below and learn more about about how to join the Commission by viewing our leadership opportunities page.

Gillian Miller ’20

picture of Gillian Miller

Gillian is a sophomore from Florida studying Neuroscience and Psychology with a minor in Visual Arts. She is currently part of Baltimore First, volunteering at St. Francis Neighborhood Center and Club 1111 regularly and serving on the Board of Directors. She also works as a camp counselor for the weekend Respite Camps through The League for People With Disabilities.



Jamie Park ’21

picture of Jamie Park

Jamie is a freshman currently majoring in International Studies and Sociology. She is from Seoul, South Korea, and is involved in JHUMUNC, PCT at JHU, and is a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. She is excited to work with other commissioners and looks forward to creating a more comfortable and transparent environment for community service at Hopkins.


Naisa Rahman ’20

picture of Naisa Rahman

Naisa Rahman is a second year student from Atlanta, GA interested in building political participation and social justice advocacy in immigrant communities. She is currently a board member of the JHU Muslim Student Association and the Homewood Council on Inclusive Excellence and a part of the Baltimore LeaderShape program. She hopes to be able to strengthen the relationship between Johns Hopkins and Baltimore as a member of this Commission and encourage greater solidarity between diverse communities.


Katie Smith ’20

picture of Katie Smith

Katie is a sophomore Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering major from Connecticut. She is an AmeriCorps NCCC alum and started her Hopkins career with the HopkinsCORPS pre-orientation program. Since then, she has worked as a facilitator for HopkinsCORPS and the Intersession Alternative Breaks program. Katie is a member of the CSC group Real Food at Hopkins and is on the executive board of the Food Systems Working Group that collaborates with the Dining Department and National Real Food Challenge. She also works for the Dining Department to coordinate procurement shifts to support more just and sustainable food.


Joel Espinoza ’21

picture of Joel Espinoza

Joel Espinoza is a freshman Public Health and Molecular and Cell Biology double major. He is currently a member of Baila!, the Latin dance group on campus, and Adoremus, the Christian A Cappella group. Aside from performing, Joel is the Vice President of Indigenous Students at Hopkins, a member of AIDS Alliance at Johns Hopkins, and works part time as a teacher’s assistant for Village Learning Place.


What does the Commission do?

The Commission is responsible for reviewing, evaluating and approving new student initiative proposals, ongoing student initiatives, and all funding allocations. They work with CSC staff and student interns to assess the quality of initiative based on the publicized specific criteria and corresponding evaluation rubrics set out for each initiative. These criteria will be assessed through the Commission’s review of written reports (e.g. the current Mid-Year and End-of-Year Reports) and in person evaluations such as presentations by potential new group officers to the Commission. CSC staff and interns will work with the officers of each student initiative to support them through making any needed adjustments and will give them the resources they need to be successful. In cases where an initiative is unable or unwilling to meet minimum standards within a semester of an initial notification, the Commission, in consultation with CSC’s leadership, reserves the right to discontinue a student initiative.

View Rubric

Funding and Supplemental Grants Program

The Civic Engagement Recognition and Allocations Commission meets throughout the year to evaluate student initiative funding requests. Student initiatives are eligible to apply for funding at two frequencies:

  1. during annual allocations (submitted as part of re-registration in March)
    • Transportation to service projects
    • Fees to national organizations
    • Recruitment expenses
    • Anticipated supplies for the upcoming academic year
    • Anticipated service-related expenses (including mandatory trainings, if known)
    • Fingerprinting expenses
    • Food for general body meetings
    • Apparel/imprinted items (request for CSC contribution, design can be approved later)
  2. during the supplemental grant period (once a semester)
    • Monthly supplemental grants for direct service projects occurring within six weeks to meet unanticipated needs (for example, for additional supplies and transportation funding)
    • Event grants (for fundraisers, educational/awareness events) (pending funding)
    • Professional Development Fund (travel to conferences on behalf of the group, providing training for group members) (pending funding)

      More information about funding coming soon.