Curricular Options for Students
Community Engagement Opportunities
BHCC broadly defines Service Learning to encompass all Community Engagement projects. This allows you, a BHCC student; the ability to participate in a variety of course related projects that encompass the community. You might participate in an action research project, where you interview, contemplate, and propose solutions to issues in society. You might volunteer at a homeless shelter or an after-school program and connect the experience to concepts within your course. Or you might go to a local K-12 school with your classmates and present complex ideas to elementary students. Regardless of the project's structure you have the chance to actively learn new things about your course, make personal and professional connections outside of school, and you are making a difference in society.
How does Service Learning differ from Volunteerism?
Service Learning differs from volunteerism in three distinct ways:
- The community project (i.e. Service Learning project) is integrated within the academic curriculum and content. The project becomes a class project and assignment.
- Students engage in reflection activities before and after their community project and apply their learning in real-life activities.
- Since the project is connected to a course, you receive credit for your community project.
This diagram, created by Andrew Furco in 2000, shows us the differences between volunteering, service learning, and internships. When we volunteer our focus is on the actual service work and those that receive the service; whereas, with internships the focus is on you, your development of new skills. What is great about Service Learning is that is it takes the best from both areas. Service Learning is positioned in the middle of the diagram because when you participate in a service learning project you are learning things about your course, yourself, and your community. When you serve and work with your community, you explore course concepts in different ways, you discover your passions, and you feel connected to the community in which you live in.