Service learning is a form of experiential education that enhances and enriches the program of study, offering students the chance to explore, engage with others, and put into practice academic learning and critical and creative thinking skills in real-world contexts beyond the learning community. These opportunities reinforce the values of collaboration, reciprocity, and civic engagement that are at the core of EEI education.
On an EEI bus Service Learning might look like: Volunteering at the Common Ground Country Fair in Maine which promotes organically grown local produce and alternative lifestyles with participatory workshops for, demonstrations of, and talks about, resilient living. Or students could help Cree elders prepare fish in the traditional ways for smoking. Or they might volunteer to offer ecology classes for elementary students whose programs do not provide science education.
Both students and community benefit from this form of learning! Additionally, students
- Improve social responsibility and citizenship skills
- Develop greater intercultural understanding
- Apply learning to “the real world”
- Expand ability to understand complexity
- Connect with professionals and community members for future career opportunities
Simultaneously, communities gain valuable human hands and energy needed to achieve community projects and benefit from an infusion of new energy and student perspectives on community work!