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Service Learning

Service learning combines community service with an academic course. Students spend at least 20 hours during the semester volunteering at a site of their choice in conjunction with a class. Past sites, English for New Americans, Child and Family Services, the Hillsborough County Nursing Home, and Headstart, are just a few of the more than 40 sites. Students may tutor kids, raise funds, or advocate change.

Students' service is then integrated into the classroom through readings, lectures, and discussions. Through service learning students apply theories to practical problems, addressing real community needs. The variety of student experiences then deepens classroom understanding.

This opportunity outside the classroom enhances students' academic, personal, and civic learning. Service learning experiences, especially those related to educational and professional goals, enhance resumes and graduate school applications-demonstrating practical experience in the field and an ethical concern for the community. But it goes beyond looking good on a resume; it's about helping others. Students make connections and learn more about themselves and others, forming new bonds and friendships.

More than 13 academic departments as varied as computer science, politics, theology, physics, and psychology include courses with service learning components. For example the fine arts department has incorporated service learning for graphic design and visual communication courses where students designed logos, print advertisements, and brochures for nonprofit organizations.

For more information about service learning contact the Meelia Center at  or at (603) 641-7108.

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