Carnegie Mellon University

Virtual Civic Engagement at CMU

In this time of uncertainty, Tartans are at their best when positively impacting the world around us with compassion and creativity. We utilize our collective ingenuity to address concerns in our backyard and around the world. Explore the meaningful ways you can take part in civic engagement—from anywhere, virtually.

Use #VirtualCMU to connect with other members of the CMU community.

Take action in this time of uncertainty with this ever-growing list of opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students, staff, faculty, alumni, and our families.

As you explore these opportunities we encourage you to consider:

  • What social issues or specific communities do I care deeply about or want to learn more about?
  • Am I looking for a one-time, short-term or long-term opportunity?
  • Are there time-zone differences that I should consider?
  • Does the organization require me to complete any training's or can I jump right in?
  • If the organization works with minors, I may be required to have clearances. (Please note, given stay-at-home orders, new clearances are not being processed in many locations.)

Support Our Community


Donate directly to CMU's Pantry via the Food Insecurity Fund. Your donations support members of the CMU community in need of essential food and household items.


Provide CMU with the resources to step in and to help with individual undergraduate or graduate student needs during times of crisis.

Direct Service

Amnesty Decoders

Join a global network of digital volunteers helping research and expose human rights violations. Use your computers or phones to help researchers sift through pictures, information and documents.

Book Share

Contribute your skills and passions to help people with print disabilities read. From scanning and proofreading, to describing images, to providing support for Bookshare® teachers and families. 

Cards for Hospitalized Kids

Partner with Cards for Hospitalized Kids to make and send cards with a generally uplifting message to kids currently in the hospital.

Charity Miles

A fitness app that allows you to choose a charity that corporate sponsors will donate to based on your physical activity. The more miles you move then the bigger a difference you can make!

Code for America

Do you have website and software development, design or writing skills? Volunteer with Code for America and contribute to civic technology projects across the country while working from home.

Color a Smile

Print, color, sign, and mail coloring pages to spread artwork and to cheer to people in need of a smile. People of any age can volunteer to color and to send their artwork to senior citizens, troops overseas and others.

DIY History

Join a crowdsourced volunteer project from the University of Iowa’s Digital Library to transcribe digitized artifacts related to Iowa history.

Literacy Pittsburgh

Teach adult reading, writing and math or English as a Second Language (ESL). No teaching experience necessary, you just need enthusiasm, patience and compassion.

Operation Gratitude

Partner with Operation Gratitude and Starbucks to write letters to veterans and frontline responders of COVID-19.

Amazon Smile

Set up your Amazon account so anytime you make an order, money is donated to organizations that you care about.

Animal Friends

Donate money or other items to help feed animals and allow the shelter to continue to support those in need.

Catholic Charities

Support Catholic Charities from the Diocese of Pittsburgh with financial and other donations or volunteer work as they continue their mission to serve those in need.

Eden Farms Donation

Help victims and survivors of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation receive emergency housing, toiletries, food, medication.

Hello Neighbor Refugee Assistance Fund 

Donate to support Pittsburgh refugee families through Hello Neighbor. One hundred percent of the funds go directly to our immigrant neighbors.

Humane Animal Rescue

Help provide food, supplies, and money for homeless pets and family pets in need, especially for pets whose families are impacted by COVID-19.

JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry Emergency Campaign

Support the JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry as they help families and individuals in their community who are struggling financially or with food insecurity.

Pittsburgh COVID-19 LGBTQIA Emergency Relief Fund

Support members of the LGBTQIA+ community who are impoverished and in unstable housing situations.

Pittsburgh Virtual Tip Jar

Donate directly to your favorite bartender, server, stylist, aesthetician or other service industry worker who is unable to work due to COVID-19.

World Health Organization

Donate to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund to directly support the World Health Organization (WHO) as they lead and coordinate the global effort, supporting countries to prevent, detect and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.