Service Learning and Community Service

What is service-learning?

According to the National Commission on Service-Learning, service-learning:

  • Links academic content and standards
  • Involves students in helping to determine and meet real, defined community needs
  • Is reciprocal in nature, benefiting both the community and the service providers by combining a service experience with a learning experience
  • Can be used in any subject area so long as it is appropriate to learning goals

What is community service?:

  • Community service is work without pay to give back to people in the community.
  • Community service is different from volunteering because it is not always done on a volunteer basis. It can be part of your citizenship requirement, criminal justice sanctions, scholarship requirement, or may be part of the curriculum of a course.
  • Community service can be donations to food banks, homeless, veterans, or any other focus group; build a house with Habitat for Humanity, volunteer at soup kitchen, tutoring and mentoring just to name a few.

The distinctive element of service-learning is that it enhances the community through the service provided. Additionally, it also has powerful learning consequences for the students or others participating in providing a service. Service-learning is growing so rapidly because of its demonstrated benefits for communities, schools, students and faculty.

Be sure to read the service learning guidelines to understand student responsibilities.