Stevenson University’s Fashion Design program and the Cherie Amour boutique located in Savage Mill, MD collaborate on "A Bridal Party," a display of one-of-a-kind, re-purposed bridal gowns.
Service-learning connects classroom learning with meaningful community service which not only benefits the students, but is equally valuable to professors and community partners.
Students are able to gain real-life experience while applying knowledge learned in class to a critical social issue. For example, in class a student may learn about the history of homelessness and then volunteers at a homeless shelter twice a week for the semester.
In this scenario, the student is both learning and serving. The real-life experience in the homeless shelter is just as important as the knowledge gained in class.
Through this service, students are learning about various perspectives, as well as honing their leadership, cultural competency, communication, and interpersonal skills. These are all abilities that cannot be taught out of a book but rather gained through experience.
Service-learning can also help students choose a career path. Once working with a certain community, it can confirm or challenge their dream of working with this particular population. Devoting time at a certain community organization also allows a chance for networking and possible jobs in the future.
Professors also benefit from service-learning as they are able to establish a stronger relationship with their students and community partners by working closely with each of these groups. Also, it is easier to reach students when what they are learning is applicable to their future career aspirations. Professors often feel greater satisfaction when students are able to connect the learning with real life and service. Professors are better able to facilitate learning and mentor their students and thus teach through both knowledge and experience. This approach allows professors to gain insight into different learning styles of students and properly grade the students on what they have actually learned whether in the classroom or in the community.
For community partners, students taking service-learning courses offer free labor and time. Student volunteers provide extra hands that enable the organization to complete tasks that may not otherwise get done. Meanwhile, the organization can focus on bigger issues such as building organizational strength and capacity. In addition, the organizations are also able to network with the students and gain employees who are passionate and knowledgeable about the company. Lastly, the community partners are teaching students about their organizations and those students are most likely talking about the company to their friends and family, therefore receiving free exposure and publicity.
The benefits of service-learning are abundant and applicable to all students, faculty, and community partners. Service-learning makes education interesting and meaningful. Combining education with real world experiences greatly enhances the experience for everyone involved.
Download the Benefits of Service Learning Chart to learn more.