Academic journal article The Public Manager

Service-Learning through Colleges and Universities, Part II: Part II Highlights Service-Learning Programs at Colleges and Universities around the Nation and Will Demonstrate the Dynamic Impact They Have on Local and State Government Organizations

Academic journal article The Public Manager

Service-Learning through Colleges and Universities, Part II: Part II Highlights Service-Learning Programs at Colleges and Universities around the Nation and Will Demonstrate the Dynamic Impact They Have on Local and State Government Organizations

Article excerpt

Service-learning has the potential to dramatically change the quality of our communities by harnessing the power of students, faculty, and community leaders in a broad range of community service projects.

Service-learning is different from other service programs because it 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. The core concept driving this educational strategy is that by combining service objectives and learning objectives--along with the intent to show measurable change in both the recipient and the provider of the service--the result is a radically effective transformative method of teaching students and enhancing our communities.

This article explains the different types of service-learning programs adopted in higher education and highlights some of the most innovative service-learning programs in our nation's colleges and universities.

Marquette University-Milwaukee, Wisconsin

At many colleges and universities, students are introduced to service-learning through participation in one-time or short-term experiences. First-year college students can be introduced to service-learning and their local community through such activities as cleaning up a neighborhood, preparing and serving a meal at a homeless shelter, or volunteering to assist older adults in winterizing their homes.

Since 1989, Marquette University has held an annual, single-day service activity called Hunger Clean-Up. Through education and advocacy, Hunger Clean-Up makes students aware of the issues of hunger and homelessness in Milwaukee. Each year, student leadership teams and community agencies interview homeless community members to determine the projects or programs to funds and to identify work sites.

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Prior to the event, team leaders receive training about the particular agencies that are Hunger Clean-Up sites, and all participants receive on-site orientations about the organizations to which they are assigned. On the day of Hunger Clean-Up, teams of students, alumni, and faculty are sent to different worksites--including homeless shelters, food pantries, neighborhood parks or elementary schools--to perform clean-up tasks.

Having forged relationships with more than 150 agencies in the city, Hunger Clean-Up has made as big an impact on Milwaukee as it has on Marquette students. Hunger Clean-Up has raised about $400,000 in donations, and more than 30,000 volunteers have participated in this program in the past 20 years. In 2010, 1,400 students and other members of the Marquette community participated in Hunger Clean-Up--raising $20,000 and working at 67 sites across Milwaukee.

For many students, Hunger Clean-Up is their first foray into community service at Marquette--and a springboard to other community service work. Vince Howard, one of the co-coordinators for the 2010 Hunger Clean-Up, says, "We do important work. Even though those tasks seem simplistic, the fact that the community sees that we want to take that step, to do some good, and to give up ourselves to the community is important." Introducing incoming students to service-learning is accomplished through day-long activities as well as through new student orientation programs.

Willamette University--Salem, Oregon

Willamette University was one of only six colleges and universities nationwide to receive the Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll Presidential Award, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to service-learning and civic engagement. Willamette students, faculty, and staff dedicated more than 66,000 hours to service during the 2008-09 academic year, with almost 23,000 service hours spent on programs assisting disadvantaged youth.

One of the programs honored was a five-day orientation program for incoming students called New Student Orientation to Community Outreach (NSOCO). …

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