Service learning integrates meaningful service with reflection to enrich the learning experience. A form of experiential learning, it provides a hands-on opportunity for students to make a difference while applying what they’ve learned in their classes.
“They gain … community-building opportunities with both the community partners and with one another,” said Assistant Professor Natchee Barnd, who teaches several service learning courses in the College of Liberal Arts. “The students consistently report these activities as the single most memorable and impactful experiences of the class. They are able to concretely apply their learning to ‘real world’ situations and contexts.”
Barnd’s Intro to Native American Studies and Native American Assimilation and Activism classes take trips to local tribal communities during all-day visits. The students in his Ethnohistory Methodology class create a social justice tour of Corvallis.
Senior Instructor James Cassidy also incorporates service learning into the Introduction to Soil class that he teaches. Cassidy says that students gain team building skills and appreciate the opportunity to engage in the community outside of campus. “Many students have gone on to intern or volunteer at the organization where they completed their service learning project,” he says. “Partner organizations benefit by having a willing volunteer force to complete projects and an opportunity to share their work and missions with a larger audience.”