Service learning is “a credit-bearing educational experience in which students participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs and reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of the course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility." (Bringle, R. G., & Hatcher, J. A. Implementing Service-Learning in Higher Education)
Unlike extracurricular volunteering, service-learning is a course-based experience that produces the best outcomes when meaningful service activities are related to course material through reflection activities. Unlike internships, the experiential activity in a service-learning course is not necessarily skill-based within the context of a student's major or minor.
SUNY Buffalo State’s goal is to develop lasting partnerships with community agencies that may result in ongoing opportunities.
Provide the community organization with energetic, enthusiastic college students who meet educational, human services, safety, and environmental needs of the community;
Create a spirit of civic responsibility. Many students may commit to a lifetime of volunteering after this experience.
Many SUNY Buffalo State students are local residents, some of whom are from or currently reside in Buffalo. Service-learning helps students connect with their communities and begin long-term involvement in community service.
In regular community partner surveys, the Civic and Community Engagement Office requests quantitative and qualitative feedback about partnerships and projects coordinated by the office. Since 2004, nearly 100% of community partners reported that their interaction with the college influences their organization in a positive way. Partnering with SUNY Buffalo State service-learning and volunteer programs consistently enables community partner organizations to
increase the number of clients served;
better meet community needs;
increase the number of services offered;
generate and incorporate new ideas;
provide mentoring opportunities;
make new connections.
The Civic and Community Engagement Office assesses students prior to and following participation in service-learning. In these surveys, SUNY Buffalo State students have revealed positive change in nearly every measure of the survey including
enhanced course-related learning;
improved civic responsibility;
skill development (written and verbal communication, public speaking, problem-solving, social responsibility and citizenship, organization, social self-confidence, leadership, working as part of a team).
Help link community projects to appropriate faculty who will connect the service project to classroom learning. This can be done at Community Partner Meetings or using the Service-Learning or Volunteer Request Form.
Get projects completed and gain extra help for your organization in tutoring, marketing, dance, problem-solving, education, and more.
Support an effective strategy for enhancing student learning, improving the educational experience, and fostering civic engagement.
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