Service Learning for Students

Important Definitions

  • Service Learning: Service-learning is a combination of community service and academic study. Through the assignment of a project that addresses community needs, students learn from community members and develop leadership skills while practicing theoretical knowledge gained in class.
  • Community Service: Voluntary community service may be a one-time, short-term project or a lengthy, on-going commitment by a group or an individual. Community service is not compensated monetarily (i.e. money, room, board, etc.). Examples of voluntary community service: food drives, coaching an athletic team, participating in a blood drive, AIDS Walk, fundraising to donate to another organization, etc.
  • Volunteerism: where the primary emphasis is on the service being provided and the primary intended beneficiary is clearly the service recipient.
    Internships: engage students in service activities primarily for the purpose of providing students with hands-on experiences that enhance their learning or understanding of issues relevant to a particular area of study.
  • Field Education: that provides students with co-curricular service opportunities that are related, but not fully integrated, with their formal academic studies.

EXAMPLES OF STUDENT ACTIVITIES THAT ARE NOT SERVICE LEARNING:

  • Singing or reading at Mass
  • Orientation leader
  • Student Ambassador
  • Fundraisers for student organizations
  • Playing on a sports team
  • Participating in a club or organization
  • Resident assistant
  • Work study
  • Most clinical projects
  • Paid internships

Orientation

Prior to the service activity, students will participate in a brief orientation. The orientation may provide information about the course content, the community service activities, the roles, responsibilities, and expectations for the student.

Reflection

Reflection is the process of deriving meaning from service experience. It is the use of critical thinking skills to prepare for and learn from service experiences. Reflection is what makes service, Service Learning.