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Community Service and Service-Learning

Civic engagement is all about getting engaged with your community, whether it's right here in Charleston and Mattoon, or with a national or international program. We are here as a resource for students, faculty, staff and community members — our goal is to help you connect with, build, and sustain meaningful service initiatives.

Take a look at the information here; if you have a question, would like to meet with us, or need more information than we provide here, please contact us.

What's the Difference Between Community Service and Service-Learning?

Community service and service learning are both forms of civic engagement. Many internships are also considered a form of civic engagement.

Community service is co-curricular or extra-curricular — it's something you do apart from or in addition to your academic studies. You may be doing community service through a student organization, fraternity or sorority, or club. You may enjoy helping others and want to volunteer in the local community on your own. Community service can also be a great way to get experience in the career you're planning or explore something totally different.

Service-learning is curricular — that is, it's part of an academic course you are taking. Your professor may ask you to volunteer at a certain type of organization, or your class may do a service project with a school or agency, or you may work with a community partner on some research or a special project. All of these are examples of service-learning because they are integrated in to your coursework.

For a course to be considered a service-learning course, it must include a service requirement that meets a community need, relates to the syllabus and some type of reflection that allows the student to show the connection between class and community has been made.

Service Works for All

Community service (volunteering) and service-learning are great ways to get out into the community. By working with community organizations, leaders, volunteers and participants, you'll enhance your classroom learning with experiences that expand your boundaries and challenge your assumptions about the world around you. You can develop career-related skills, or use abilities and interests that may not relate to your major. You may even discover new talents! You can do all this while making the community and the world a better place.

If you have any questions, please contact our office at 217-581-3967 or email volunteer@eiu.edu.