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Center for Civic Engagement

The New England College Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) was created in 2002 by political science and history faculty who saw an opportunity to enhance NEC’s influence and outreach to students and the community. With widespread support and a generous grant from the Christian A. Johnson Fund, the CCE focuses on broadening and deepening traditional civic engagement in several areas:

College Convention

Every four years, the Center for Civic Engagement hosts a student College Convention to coincide with the first-in-the-nation presidential primary in our home state of New Hampshire. College, university, and high school students from across the country fill New Hampshire’s largest convention center for one week of political conventioneering—visits from presidential candidates, interviews with campaign staff, focus groups with members of the media, and up-close-and-personal access to leading political experts in the country.

College Convention | Jan 5-9, 2020

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Town Hall Series

The Center for Civic Engagement leverages New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary status by organizing and hosting U.S. presidential candidates, campaign leaders, and election officials. Students, staff, faculty, community members, and national media are given unique access to top political players.

During the 2016 election cycle, New England College hosted every presidential candidate.

Leading up to the 2020 election, we have hosted the following candidates:

  • former Governor, Deval Patrick (D—MA)
  • Senator Elizabeth Warren (D—MA)
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D—South Bend, IN)
  • Andrew Yang
  • Senator Amy Klobuchar (D—MN)
  • Senator Michael Bennet (D—CO)
  • Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D—HI, 2nd District)
  • Senator Bernie Sanders (D—VT)
  • Representative John Delaney (D—MD, 6th District)
  • Marianne Williamson
  • Governor Bill Weld (R—MA)
  • Governor John Hickenlooper (D—CO)

Speaker Series

Prominent speakers from a variety of fields and areas of public interest are invited to campus to present ideas and talk with members of the community. New England College has hosted widely known individuals like media mogul Ted Turner, financial news icon Myron Kandel, and U.S. administrator Patricia Ireland to name just a few. The Center for Civic Engagement also hosts high-profile and spirited debates, such as the New Hampshire Gubernatorial and Congressional primary and general election races.


Comprised of student volunteers embodying the spirit of Ut Prosim (“that I may serve”), CiviCorps members play an active role in organizing and supporting the Center’s civic engagement activities. Whether it be orchestrating local volunteer projects for the community, managing day-to-day activities of College Convention, or introducing presidential candidates, CiviCorps is another opportunity for hands-on, experiential learning.



President’s 2014 Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll

New England College was named to President Obama’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, recognizing New England College for the extraordinary and exemplary community service contributions of its students, faculty, and staff in meeting critical community needs. The Honor Roll highlights the role colleges and universities play in solving community problems and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement by recognizing institutions that achieve meaningful, measureable outcomes in the communities they serve.