Service Learning and Community Service

Service-Learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.

1. Before You Register - Browse and Register for a Position


Review general guidelines about service learning.

Acknowledgement of Risk 

All service learners must complete and return a copy of the Release/Hold Harmless Agreement form to your professor before beginning your Service-Learning.  If you are a minor (under the age 18), your parent or guardian must review, sign, and return a copy of the Release/Hold Harmless Agreement to the course professor before you can participate.

Background Checks

Many Service-Learning position may require a background check.  The specific background check that is run and the specific criminal convictions that will be disqualifying vary depending on the site.

2. Register for Service-Learning Positions


Follow these steps to browse and register for volunteering opportunities:

Tips for Browsing Volunteer Positions

  • Service learning registrations dates/times will vary, talk to your professor to find out when registration opens for your course.
  • Service learning positions are first come, first served. Please be prepared to register for more than one position. If you did not get a confirmation email immediately after going through the registration process, check back within the next 48 hours.
  • Choose options that are interesting to you and fit with your coursework schedule. Learn about each organization by visiting each organization website.
  • Remember to factor travel time to the organization or service site. This may impact your availability for the shift you want.
  • After registration, you can log back into the Volunteer Odyssey website at any time to review details of your service learning position

3. Beginning your Service Learning


  1. Follow the instructions outlined in the “Description” section of your position chosen.  Determine whether you should reach out to the person listed as the “Point of Contact” of the position based on what is stated in the description.
  2. Use the cover-letter template to craft your self-introduction, making sure to mention:
  • Your full name, email address, and phone number;
  • That you are a Southwest Tennessee Community College service-learner, including your course fill title, and information about what you will be learning;
  • A note about your motivation for signing up to serve with the organization in this role;
  • RSVPing for, or your desire to set up an orientation;
  • Your availability for a regular volunteer schedule;
  • Any question you have;
  • Your appreciation for this opportunity!
Random Service Volunteers

4. Orientations with Community Partners


Participate in an orientation with your host organizations to familiarize yourself with its work, your role, and expectations for the commitment.  Review details in your position description and /or contact your site supervisor.  Orientation should be completed as soon as they can be scheduled with the community partner.