Civic engagement runs deep at NEC. In fact, you could say it’s in our DNA. NEC’s Center for Civic Engagement was established in 2002 by political science and history faculty who saw an opportunity to enhance NEC’s influence and outreach to students and the community.
Because the democratic process depends on engaged citizens, we encourage all students to get involved and let their voices be heard. We offer plenty of opportunities for students to do just that.
Every four years, NEC is the only college in the country that hosts a presidential primary for students. The College Convention coincides with New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary and gives the next generation of voters the opportunity to come face-to-face with the people, issues, and process that shape presidential primary campaigns. Students do it all: listen to leading candidates, witness the media frenzy, engage with the media, interact with candidates, and maybe even get hired by campaigns on the spot. It’s civic engagement. It’s political awareness. It’s hands-on experience. It’s once in a lifetime.
Town Hall Series
As part of New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary status, NEC organizes and hosts town hall meetings with U.S. presidential candidates, campaign leaders, and election officials. Students gain access to top political players. And a student is selected to formally introduce each presidential candidate.
NEC hosts high-profile and spirited debates, such as the New Hampshire Gubernatorial and Congressional primary and general election races. Students engage with candidates and ask questions during debates.
Comprised of student volunteers who embody the spirit of Ut Prosim (“that I may serve”), CiviCorps members play an active role in organizing and supporting NEC’s civic engagement activities. From orchestrating local volunteer projects in the community to managing the College Convention’s daily activities or introducing presidential candidates, CiviCorps gives students another opportunity to gain hands-on political experiences.
NEC’s students have done internships in Congressional offices in Washington, DC; the White House; and the Office of the First Lady.
NEC is a founding college of Project Pericles, a national organization that is committed to civic and social engagement based on the principles and history of American democracy. Our Pericles program uses theory and engagement to help students become personally involved in civic and socially responsible service.