The mission of the Office of Service and Engagement is to connect Clarion University students with community partners and service opportunities to help address genuine needs while building skills as engaged citizens.
Service can help students understand what their classroom knowledge in new and different ways. It is a great way to build experience, learn new skills, meet new people, and get to know your community. Clarion University supports a wide range of ways for students to serve their communities, including academic service-learning, co-curricular service learning, community service and volunteer activities, and through student organizations with a focus on service.
Academic and co-curricular service-learning both include a deliberate focus on learning in relation to the service performed. Academic service-learning is service completed as a requirement in a course, under the guidance of a faculty member. Co-ops, internships, clinicals, and other practical experience courses often include work that is or can be considered service-learning. Students who are interested in this type of learning should speak with their advisors to learn more about which courses in their area of study may include service-learning.
Co-curricular service learning experiences are not associated with an academic course, though they still have a focus on learning and/or reflection. These opportunities may be hosted by student organizations, departments and offices on campus, or with community partners who help to establish learning opportunities within the work they are providing. The Community Scholars program listed below is a wonderful example of co-curricular service-learning. Learning opportunities in these experiences may be about the content of service performed, the hosting agency, personal growth, or other related topics.
Community service and volunteering do not necessarily have an intentional learning component built in to them. Students may still learn from these opportunities, but that is not the main focus. Community service is work that is done for the benefit of others, and volunteering is when someone makes a personal choice to volunteer. Court-ordered and other mandated service are not volunteering, but they are community service.
What does all of that look like at Clarion University? There are academic service-learning opportunities in every one of our colleges. Interested students should follow up with individual departments and program chairs for more information related to academic service-learning.
The Office of Service and Engagement hosts several service programs for students. The Federal Community Service Work Study Program, the Community Scholars program, Golden Eagle Volunteers, and the Resource Room all offer ways for students to connect to communities and help make the world a bit better. Volunteer opportunities are promoted through campus media and social media, and students may elect to participate individually or in groups. Enrolled students can access service opportunities through CU Connect.