Volunteerism and Service Learning

Service learn​​ing is a transformational learning experience that:

  • Makes a connection between service and academic learning objectives.
  • Is based on a reciprocal relationship in which the service reinforces and strengthens the learning and the learning reinforces and strengthens the service.
  • Gives you the chance to apply new skills and knowledge to real-life situations in your own community.
  • Provides structured opportunities for you to reflect critically on your experiences. 
  • Helps you earn academic credit by demonstrating that you have learned through service rather than just putting in the hours. 

Service learning fosters a sense of caring for others and a commitment to social responsibility. There are six essential elements that differentiate Service Learning from traditional volunteerism:

  1. Reciprocity: The service and learning must be valuable for both the student and the community.
  2. Reflection: Reflections about the experience will encourage critical thinking.
  3. Development: Service learning occurs in different stages and moves from serving, to enabling, to empowering; from observation, to experience, to leadership.
  4. Meaningful Service: Service tasks should be related to a student’s coursework and challenging in order to strengthen students' critical thinking.
  5. Diversity: A priority is placed on students working in diverse settings and with a diverse population.
  6. Sustainability: To truly make a difference, long-term benefits to the community, students and faculty should be considered.

Service Learning students are not like traditional volunteers. They are challenged with connecting their service in the community with a particular learning objective in the classroom.

View the timetable that identifies when you can learn the most from your Service Learning experience.