Turning Knowledge into Action
Participation in service-learning has risen dramatically at the University of Georgia, with benefits for students as well as communities across the state.
Through service-learning, students apply their classroom knowledge and skills to help improve the lives of individuals while strengthening communities, all while gaining a deeper understanding of the subject matter and developing the kind of communication, teamwork and critical thinking skills that are in such high demand after graduation.
Service-learning is a key component of UGA’s experiential learning requirement, which ensures that each of our students engages in hands-on learning that can also include internships, research or study abroad. Over the past five years, enrollment in service-learning courses has increased by more than 20 percent at UGA. Last year alone, our faculty taught more than 400 service-learning course sections with a total enrollment of nearly 7,700.
Nine faculty members were recently selected for the Service-Learning Fellows program, during which they’ll develop and refine courses that integrate academic service-learning into their instruction. The projects range from connecting students with coastal municipalities to assess and design solutions for storm water projects to creating financial information for small businesses and partnering with local non-profit organizations.
Another notable example of service-learning is the Campus Kitchen at UGA, through which students transform unused food from dining halls, grocery stores, restaurants and farmers markets into nutritious meals that are delivered to community agencies serving senior citizens and others in need. More than 25 different courses in disciplines such as geography, social work and foods and nutrition have partnered with Campus Kitchen since its launch in 2012. To date, Campus Kitchen at UGA has delivered nearly 51,000 meals in the Athens area. (I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that from Nov. 1 – 15, Campus Kitchen will be hosting its annual “Turkeypalooza,” food drive, which last year allowed students to provide a Thanksgiving meal to more 700 individuals in 200 families.)
Our students and faculty are committed to making a difference in communities across Georgia and beyond. Their dedication to combining service with learning changes lives for the better, and it translates knowledge into action.
Office of Service-Learning: https://servicelearning.uga.edu/
2017-2018 Service-Learning Fellows: http://columns.uga.edu/news/article/nine-uga-faculty-members-named-2017-2018-service-learning-fellows/
Experiential Learning: http://el.uga.edu/