Office of Student Activities

Volunteer Services and Service-Learning

Service-learning means different things to different people. Because of this, no one definition of service-learning will satisfy everyone. Several commonly used definitions of service-learning are presented here to provide a basis for discovering the common ground among them and to promote discussion about the meaning of service-learning.
The term 'service-learning' means a method:

  • under which students learn and develop through active participation in ...thoughtfully organized service experiences that meet actual community needs;
  • that is integrated into the students' academic curriculum or provides structured time for a student to think, talk, or write about what the student did and saw during the service activity;
  • that provides students with opportunities to use newly acquired skills and knowledge in real-life situations in their own communities; and
  • that enhances what is taught in school by extending student learning beyond the classroom and into the community and helps to foster the development of a sense of caring for others.

-National and Community Service Act of 1990