KCC seeks community partners for service-learning projects

Bruins Give Back participants serve during an event in February, 2013.

Kellogg Community College is seeking community partners with whom to collaborate on future service-learning projects for students.

Service-learning is an initiative that combines community service and academic objectives to provide mutual benefits to students and the community as a whole. Student projects must meet community needs and offer students the opportunity for self-reflection.

“Service-learning allows our students to increase their awareness of community issues while also using their unique skill sets to find solutions to community problems,” said Kate DeGraaf, service-learning manager at KCC. “Our service-learning students provide needed services to area organizations while building connections and capacities for social mindfulness that will stick with them long after they leave college.”

More than 430 KCC service-learning students partnered with 40 community organizations during the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 semesters, serving more than 8,250 hours. DeGraaf said she would like to keep that momentum going this fall as KCC works to continue developing a tradition of service at the College based on strong community partnerships.

“We want our students to understand that the enrichment of our community is a central part of our mission here at KCC,” DeGraaf said. “Our partnerships with community organizations in all of KCC’s service areas enable us to provide a broader range of service opportunities for our students while enhancing the impact of the work our students do by allowing them to address community needs on multiple fronts.”

Examples of previous projects completed by service-learning students at KCC include:

  • A service-learning student took photographs and made prints to hang in the offices of Big Brothers Big Sisters.
  • A service-learning student assisted in the creation of a help desk to assist clients and set up breakfast times for the Share Center.
  • Service-learning students coordinated a cleanup day at SAFE Place.
  • A service-learning student created a series of zines, or mini-magazines, about social issues for a number of community partners.
  • Service-learning students have participated in several initiatives at local elementary schools, including:
    • The creation of a creativity group that taught elementary school kids about creative writing and how to design characters for a book.
    • Assisting elementary school students with collecting new and gently used sweatshirts for donation.
    • A KCC biology student created a lesson plan about community gardens.
    • KCC theatre students adapted and performed plays based on children’s books for elementary school students.

KCC requires any student pursuing an associate degree outside of the applied sciences to complete a service-learning endorsement before graduation. The endorsement can be achieved by completing 15 hours of service learning activity in a course with a service-learning-certified faculty member; 24 hours of service learning as part of SERV 200, a course dedicated to service learning; or 100 hours as part of SERV 299, a more intensive service-learning dedicated course in which students create sustainable opportunities for future service-learning students.

In order to be considered for the list of community partners presented to service-learning endorsed faculty members interested in service opportunities for their students before the start of the Fall 2014 semester, organizations interested in partnering in service-learning opportunities are encouraged to contact DeGraaf at 269-965-3931 ext. 2211 or degraafk@kellogg.edu by Thursday, July 31.

For more information about service-learning at KCC, including information about online sign-up to be considered for a service-learning partnership, visit www.kellogg.edu/academics/service-learning.

For more news about Kellogg Community College, view our latest news releases online at daily.kellogg.edu/category/news-releases.