Q: What is the difference between service
learning and volunteerism or internships?
A: Service learning is an academic form
of civic engagement that is guided by a specific curriculum. The service is structured
and consistent for the duration of the course and reflected on regularly. The relationship
between the community organization and the faculty is a mutually beneficial partnership
for the students and the organization. Both the students and the organization are
gaining valuable recourses.
Volunteerism emphasizes the services provided to the organization. The benefits
for the organization outweigh those of the students. In addition, the service is
not structured around a curriculum and is usually inconsistent. Reflection does
not occur regularly.
Internships emphasize the knowledge the student has already gained. The benefits
for the students outweigh those of the organization. Although the work is usually
based on a previously learned skill, the work is not structured around a current
curriculum and requires significant time practicing the skill. Reflection does not
Q: How will I know it is a service learning
A: All service learning courses are indicated
by an “SL” designation. This allows students to identify the courses with a service-learning
component. In addition, the MUSLP lists new and archived service learning courses
on our website and the Student Resource Center (2nd Floor of the Memorial Student
Center) has a list of all upcoming service learning courses.
Q: I woudl like to take a service learning
course but I am concerned about the extra workload. Are service learning courses
A:No, service learning is not more work;
it is just a different kind of work. Some students may find service learning courses
more taxing than traditional courses, but often times the rewards outweigh these
concerns. The rewards can be personal and for the community at large, that benefits
from your service. Service learning then often enhances your learning experience
and what is taken from course material, as well as helping students feel more connected
with their community and giving them valuable knowledge of service agencies. This
can help with resume building and sometimes even employment. The Financial Aid office
has more information about potential Community Service Work Study opportunities.