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Frequently Asked Questions from Students


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What is service-learning?

Service-learning combines academic theory with practical real-life experience in a way that provides a broader and deeper understanding of course content and fosters civic engagement. What this means is that students in a service-learning course apply the knowledge and skills they are learning in the classroom to serve a genuine community need. Students may provide a direct service through volunteering for a community agency or organization, or they may complete a project in the classroom that benefits a community agency, organization or small local business. In all cases, the service directly relates to course content. Check out examples of service-learning courses here.

What are the benefits of taking a service-learning course?

The tangible benefits include enhanced learning through applied experience and reflection, increased social awareness and civic engagement, and strengthened reciprocal connections with local community or area served. Students may also test a potential career choice or identify new avenues and opportunities. Service-learning offers a form of experience that may be an asset in future endeavors and can be included on a résumé.

Which courses have a service-learning component?

Ask your department chair or advisor about current service-learning courses being offered. In addition, the Office of the Registrar provides a listing of service-learning (S-L) designated courses. Sometimes different sections of the one course may have a service-learning component. This distinction should be listed when searching through the course listings.

Do I get additional credit for taking a service-learning course?

In service-learning, credit is given for the learning, just as in every other class. The service is built in to the course curriculum just like attendance, assignments, or exams.

Does taking a service-learning course mean that there are additional requirements?

Like any other class, expectations should be laid out at the beginning of the semester. Some service-learning courses may require a commitment of a couple of extra hours a week spent providing service at a community agency or working on a project. Sometimes, students may be required to walk, bike, take public transportation, or drive to an off-campus location. Students can use the Bloomington Transit system for free with their student ID.

As a student, can I get certain service or service-learning projects funded through the university or through grants?Students 2

Please check out the Student Life & Learning Resources and Links page to see the resources and funding available to eligible students and projects. Also, see these sources that provide grants and awards to service-learning students.

Are there opportunities to present to campus and community about transformative experiences thorugh service-learning? 

Starting in the 2013-2014 academic year the Service-Learning Program includes a student component to our Service-Learning Showcase. As many as 6-8 student presenters who have had a transformative experience through service-learning are invited to apply to present. has focused on featuring strong faculty/community service-learning partnerships.  If were a student in the academic year prior to the showcase and are doing exceptional service-learning work, please do to present at our Showcase

The next showcase will be in spring 2015.  Applications to participate will be available spring semester 2015.

What if I want to get involved or volunteer without taking a service-learning course?

Students can visit the Student Life and Learning website for a comprehensive listing of campus civic engagement programs, resources and student organizations. Visit the City of Bloomington Volunteer Network website for a comprehensive listing of agencies and volunteer opportunities in Monroe County.