Connecting Service with Learning

Thumbnail for [node:title][user:name]Planning Service Projects and Learning Goals

Work with students to plan a service project, or series of projects, then decide what learning goals are related to that project. For example: your group can decide to sponsor a river clean-up day, then determine what volunteers can gain from that experience.

You might also identify learning goals and then plan projects to meet those goals. For example, you may work with a group of science majors who want to learn more about pollution, so they plan a river clean-up day.

Often the service project and learning goals are developed simultaneously. To facilitate this, you can work with SVLs, community agencies, or groups on campus (e.g., academic departments or student organizations) to identify project ideas and/or learning goals.

Once you are working closely with SVLs, or a group of volunteers, you should also be conscious of allowing their skill sets and interest areas to shape the volunteer experience.

Partner with Classes on Campus

Be sure to build the correct partnerships in order to make your service-learning endeavors a success. One of the best ways to create a strong service-learning experience is to work directly with classes on campus. Many schools today have incorporated service-learning into their curriculum, and students are able to connect their service to course credits. Many times, even classes without a specified service-learning component will allow students to volunteer in lieu of other course work. You can recruit students more easily when the service opportunity is targeted to a specific course, and you will see a higher level of student accountability if the project is linked to course credit.