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Information for Students

What is Service Learning?

Service Learning is a process of learning by doing that helps you as a student to deepen your understanding of course material. You will participate in on or off-campus activities and experiences with a community partner, which may include businesses, non-profits, or governmental agencies. You will also be asked to connect what you are doing at the Service Learning site with what you are learning in the classroom. 

You will then reflect on how these experiences have improved your understanding of course material. This form of experiential learning is mutually beneficial to both you as a student and the community partner. Service learning experiences promote community and civic engagement by helping students to recognize their ability to apply what they have learned in the classroom to make a positive impact in the community.


Why Engage in Service Learning?

Service Learning provides students with:

  • Experiences to strengthen resumes and/or graduate school applications 
  • Career exploration opportunities
  • Professional networking resources and opportunities 
  • Critical thinking and problem solving skills
  • Strengthened communication skills (both written and oral)
  • Enhanced academic understanding
  • An opportunity to apply academic content to real situations
  • Opportunity to develop empathy (understanding the experiences and situations of others)
  • Tools to build and strengthen leadership skills
  • Heightened awareness of civic and social issues
  • Opportunities to meet and work with peers outside the classroom environment 




If you have questions about Service Learning, please talk with your faculty member or contact Dr. Dana Kivel, Director, Community Engagement Center, kivelb@csus.edu

What is Involved in Service Learning?

Service Learning may involve direct service or project-based service. In addition, Service Learning requires students to participate in a structured reflection activity. For example, you may be asked to record your thoughts in a journal, write a paper or answer questions about your Service Learning experience.

Direct Service Learning is performed on site, where you work directly with clients or employees at an agency. This work is highly beneficial to both the community partner and you as a student by strengthening your education. Examples of direct service work include:

  • Tutoring and mentoring students
  • Reading to third graders
  • Volunteering at a food bank or homeless shelter
  • Facilitating health education programs
  • Developing and leading activities for individuals with disabilities

Project-based Service Learning may involve more abbreviated contact with an organization and the bulk of your work focuses on developing a project that is beneficial to both the community partner and you as a student by strengthening your education. Such projects have included:

  • Designing or upgrading a web site
  • Conducting telephone surveys or on-line research
  • Analyzing data and providing feedback to the partner
  • Designing informational or promotional materials


Service Learning Student Guide

This video will guide you through your upcoming Service Learning experience.


Time Log Information

This video will guide you through the appropriate steps to fill out your time log.