What is Service-Learning and Why Does it Matter?
What is Service-Learning?
Service-Learning is a course-based, credit-bearing educational experience by which students participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs and reflect on the service activity on such a way as to gain further understanding of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility. Service-Learning emphasizes reciprocity between campus and community, between those who serve and those who learn.
- Build relationships with university and possible resources: Relationships with the university entity can have many benefits like an increased volunteer base, monetary or physical resources, and a large knowledge base to tap into.
- Staff Pool: Service-Learning positions, if thoughtfully planned and implemented, can be filled by students on a continuous basis. It may even be possible for you to use the student contribution as a form of in-kind services for the future match purposes when grants come due.
- Resources and Support: The student may bring the latest literature on topics of interest or importance to your employees and clients. In addition to the student's own knowledge, he or she may bring the expertise of the faculty.
- Career Orientation: The college student is seeking to interact as a professional; thus, he or she brings a willingness to learn and achieve as a professional in your world.
- Fresh Approach to Problem-Solving: Students not only view the world from a more simplistic perspective; they are often willing to make creative suggestions, thereby encouraging your own willingness to consider new alternatives.
- A Base of Future Citizen Support: Students actively encourage support of your agency through their interpersonal networks (friends, family, church groups, civic organizations, etc.). Your service-learning students can become your biggest boosters!
- Awareness-building: Building the visibility of community issues, agencies and constituents
- Opportunities to contribute to the educational process: As a community partner, your expertise will complement the learning at a higher educational level. Students will learn the application of their course material through the experience at your organization.