When you study at ACU, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in a community engagement activity as part of our Core Curriculum. It’s a unique and crucial part of our undergraduate courses that connects classwork to community action for an invaluable learning experience in service to the common good.

ACU defines ‘community engagement’ as activities that build capacity and affirm human dignity through sustainable and reciprocal collaborations with communities who experience disadvantage or marginalisation.

These units give students the opportunity to work in the community and engage with people who experience disadvantage or marginalisation, putting classroom learning into practice in the real world for an authentic insight into yourself and your career path. You will develop your compassion, empathy and understanding of the diverse communities we live in, gain real-world experience and transferable skills, learn to think critically and reflectively, and consider ethical perspectives and alternative viewpoints in your decision making, all whilst contributing to social justice and the common good.


Get ready for your community engagement placement

Find answers to your frequently asked questions, read ACU's community engagement policies and procedures, learn about your pre-requisite requirements and get the most out of your community engagement experience.

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Browse community engagement placement opportunities

ACU Engagement work with our community partners to provide a range of community engagement opportunities. Browse our listing to find one that’s right for you – whether it’s tutoring, developing a strategic plan or serving meals.

To ensure we meet the varied needs of our community partners, as well as the skills and capabilities of our students, we support four different types of community engagement placement.


Students interact with community members through an existing program offered by ACU and/or an external partner organisation. For example ACU Education students providing one-on-one tutoring for students from disadvantaged backgrounds in a homework support program.


Students (individually or in groups) work on a project with a tangible outcome for a community organisation. For example ACU Art students mapping available services for Australians experiencing homelessness, and developed a directory of resource needs for local support agencies.


Students conduct or contribute to a research project needed by a community organisation. For example ACU Psychology students working with service agencies to understand the benefits of social skills training for young autistic people.


Students participate in or support one of ACU's partner organisations with an ongoing campaign to address a social issue. For example ACU Science students supporting mental health awareness week by planning and conducting an event on campus that included forums with people who have experienced mental illness.

All community engagement is volunteering, however not all volunteering is community engagement.

Community engagement

ACU defines ‘community engagement’ as activities that build capacity and affirm human dignity through sustainable and reciprocal collaborations with communities who experience disadvantage or marginalisation. Examples include:

  • Providing support and mentoring to children from low socio-economic or disadvantaged background.
  • Preparing and serving meals at a community kitchen.
  • Spending time with elderly residents of an aged care facility to support their social and emotional wellbeing.

Learn more about how we define community engagement


Volunteering is unpaid work, where you share your skills and time to help others in the community. Volunteers Australia defines volunteering as time willingly given for the common good and without financial gain. It is a form of civic participation which enriches the wellbeing of the overall community and the lives of the volunteers participating. Volunteering opportunities are varied and can involve community engagement.

Learn more and find volunteer opportunities on the student portal

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Overseas study opportunities

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ACU Engagement

Learn more about ACU Engagement, including our mission to provide meaningful engagement opportunities and how to contact us.

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