The Bethany College Service Learning Center is housed in the social work department. Established in 2010 with a grant from PNC Foundation, the Service Learning Center provides assistance to students and faculty members who are interested in developing and performing service projects for non-profit organizations in the tri-state area.
The mission of the Bethany College Service Learning Center is to help students combine meaningful community service with their own educational experiences in order to teach civic responsibility and promote a greater understanding of the community. By archiving campus efforts to engage in service learning, the Center aims to use these experiences to promote community service growth while giving students and faculty the opportunity to take the classroom to the community.
Service learning differs from community service or volunteer work. The meaningful difference comes from the symbiotic relationship that forms between community organizations and students or participants. While cleaning up trash along a river bank is considered to be volunteer work, service learning might require a student to pick up trash, categorize the types of trash found, and develop and maintain a recycling program for a community based on those findings. It is an extremely comprehensive learning experience that aids local organizations and agencies in their efforts to maintain their organization and achieve its goals while bettering the community and providing a hands-on learning experience that enriches classroom teachings.
It is only with your help that such a long-lasting relationship can be formed and a betterment of the community can be achieved. Please contact us today to find out more about what we do and how we can work with your organization to integrate the classroom into the community.
“If students remove trash from a streambed, they are providing a service to the community as volunteers…When students remove trash from a streambed, analyze what they found, share the results and offer suggestions for the neighborhood to reduce pollution and reflect on their experience…THAT is service learning!” --Learn and Serve Clearinghouse
Service learning improves academic achievement by providing students with the ability to practice what they are learning and develop a stronger understanding of the community and their role in it. Students become engaged emotionally through exploring their values and beliefs while developing a sense of personal responsibility. Students also establish relationships with local agencies which provides experience for building resumes and networking for future employment.
Organization and Community Benefits
Working with Bethany College students and faculty on service-learning projects will have long-lasting benefits for an organization. Service learning activities take service to a new level, as they provide meaningful changes in an agency’s ability to fundraise, write grants, and provide services to consumers. Faculty members can share knowledge, expertise, and resources, while students work side by side with agency staff to help agencies grow.