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First-Year CEL

The First-Year Community Engaged Learning (FYCEL) Experience 

First-Year Community Engaged Learning (FYCEL) is a graduation requirement that brings the College’s values to life, and introduces students to the culture of the campus and community. All first-year students complete the FYCEL graduation requirement within their first year at TCNJ through the non-credit course FYC 100, which is facilitated by a TCNJ staff or faculty member. FYC 100 is a two-week course, consisting of two 80-minute education class sessions, one half day of service, and one 80-minute reflection class session. This model provides the students with an introduction to what community engaged learning is and some context for them going into their service experience. The final session of the course allows students to reflect on their service experience to deepen awareness of social issues and to cultivate an interest in continuing to serve communities. All students will need to complete Travel Waiver and Photo Release forms.


FYC 100 is the only course that fulfills the first-year CEL graduation requirement and all first-year students will be enrolled in FYC 100 in either the fall or spring semester of their first year at TCNJ. Enrollments are done by CCE staff during the add/drop period at the beginning of each semester. CCE Staff will email all first-year students who can expect to be enrolled in FYC 100. Once enrollments are completed, CCE staff will reach out to the enrolled students to explain how they can check their schedule. At this point, students can reschedule by emailing  

Each FYC 100 course will have its own Canvas course where students can review the course materials, schedule, service assignment, FAQs and reach out to their facilitator.

Education Sessions

FYC 100 begins with two 80-minute education class sessions. The first day of class explores community engaged learning, “What is Community?”, Trenton history and exploring how social systems and structures affect a community. Day 2 focuses on personal and social identities, the cycle of socialization and counternarratives. These topics are designed to prepare the students for their upcoming service experience in the local community.


During a weeklong break in class, students will be scheduled outside of their course schedule for a half day of service. The day of service is planned by the CCE staff with a local community partner and will be based on a community-identified need. Students will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills from the two educational days of the course and learn about a local community partner by participating in the service experience as a contribution to sustaining and enhancing communities.

Students can find their service assignment and details in their Canvas course. Transportation will be provided and arranged by the CCE staff through the use of on campus vans. If a student is unable to attend their scheduled service, they should reach out to

We work with many local community partners for the FYCEL Experience.

Reflection Session

The last day of FYC 100 is an 80-minute class session where students reflect on their service experience. This class focuses on reflecting on students’ service experiences, exploring what social issues we’re passionate about and figuring out how we can incorporate community engagement in our own lives. Students will be introduced to opportunities to continue participating in CEL within and beyond TCNJ.

Throughout the 4-day course, students are instructed to complete a one page assignment, which they will finish with their reflection and submit at the end of class. Students will be graded at the end of the semester and receive a passing grade for completing all of the requirements of the course.


Following the course, students are asked to complete a post-survey to provide feedback on their FYCEL experience. This feedback is used to shape the future of the program, as well as sharing our outcomes.

Curriculum Files

Facilitate First-Year CEL

Are you interested in facilitating a First-Year CEL course? If so, reach directly out to Megan Teitelbaum at You can also learn ways to continue the conversation with students by incorporating components of CEL in your classes with these PDFs. (Continue the Conversation PDF 1; Continue the Conversation PDF 2)

For questions regarding CEL scheduling and/or grades, please email:


Center for Community Engagement
Forcina Hall, Room 337
The College of New Jersey
P.O. Box 7718
2000 Pennington Rd.
Ewing, NJ 08628