Service Learning Ideas
Here is a list of academic service learning ideas by discipline.
- Collect and document what life was like during major recent historical periods by visiting nursing homes, veteran's hospitals, retirement homes, VFW halls.
- Have students participate in a multicultural club field trip and write a reflective paper on the experience.
- Assist non profits with fund raising efforts.
- Assist and the running and staffing of a cooperative food store.
- Work with neighborhood leadership/advisory boards to put on workshops for residents of low income areas on household finances, budgeting.
- Work with a community organization to create a database.
- Have Art history majors prepare and present mini lectures of famous artwork to local classrooms in the K-12 programs.
- Work with a local K-12 school about the creation of a mural to beautify the school. Have the kids help design the mural.
- Have photography and video majors create a promotional video for a garden project. Explain in the video how to plant and harvest food for distribution for low income families.
- Work with a marketing class, artists can create promotional literature, brochures displays, videos, photo journals for a non-profit agency.
- Have art students present a tour to young students at a major museum.
- Have students teach art lesson plans to youths living in foster homes, or provide instruction to after care programs at local schools.
- Assist at a community event with Arts and Scraps of Detroit.
- Create a photo album and a written family portrait for people livings in nursing homes or shelters.
- Have students study water samples in a river bank.
- Assist for a day at the Red Cross.
- Intern with Planned Parenthood as information line counselor, family planning counselor, contraception and reproductive health care.
- Work with local K-12 schools to conduct a presentation on the pathology of AIDS, HIV infection, and prevention.
- Students work as guides, helpers and animal handlers at a non-profit nature student center which provides free education programs and tours for local public schools.
- Students can prepare business plans for small profit-making business and non-profit agencies.
- Student may write up a business plan to assist area high school students in art/shop classes to sell their works. Monies would go to scholarships for which high school students may later apply.
- Students survey food and drug stores in and around the community to establish the relative prices and quality of essential items. They issue a monthly listing of information, which helps prevent stores in low-income communities from raising their prices above those found in surrounding areas.
- Have student work in small groups, develop international business plans for nonprofit and for profit businesses that can provide entrepreneur training to underdeveloped countries.
- Conduct a presentation either on campus or at community group on how to draft a resume.
- Provide students with the opportunity to design and present a workshop on the implications of various chemical and health issues by performing demonstrations/hands-on activities. These presentations can be offered to local k-12 schools.
- Students can work with community partners and learn about unsafe levels of asbestos, and lead contamination.
- Students design and implement experiments such as extracting nylon from liquid, for local area students.
- Invite area high schools students to a special orientation to engineering and other technical work by HFCC students.
- Design personalized software for local non-profits to better manage volunteers and resources, and inventories.
- Have students develop lesson plans to teach math/science to area high school, middle school and grade school students.
- Create training manual on basic computer usage for parent of local elementary schools.
- Create websites for startup non-profits.
- Familiarize uninitiated with Internet-based technology at local community centers or retirement homes.
- Students can do building and painting projects for Habitat for Humanity.
- Have students contact a court clerk at a county court system for permission to sit in during a court session and take notes. The students can record the types of cases that were heard and the types of sentencing the judge gave to the defendants.
- Have students tour a county jail. Students must contact the county sheriff’s office for visitation hours.
- Students can contact the U.S. Customs Border Patrol and interview a border patrol agent. The students can ask questions pertaining to Homeland Security Issues.
- Have students contact a city or county probation officer. What is their role in the justice system?
- Have dance students perform a dance as an expressive medium for children with emphasis on concepts and principles to area residents or local schools.
- Have students develop lesson plans to tutor local area elementary students.
- Work with a local library and assist with a literacy program.
- Participate in the area Humane Society’s Pet Therapy program in area nursing homes.
- Work with non-profits to write letters to businesses to ask donations of goods and services. Students can write to get donations of toiletries to create personal kits for distribution to homeless.
- Work with non profits to develop hard hitting brochures for use in recruitment and information.
- Work with artists to create words for cartoons/plot/essay/video to promote non profit.
- Read books to children in schools.
- Students can learn about cancer and participate in a walkathon, then make and sell ribbons, funding from the sale of ribbons can be donated to support a cancer organization. (HFCC has student clubs which organize activities to support the American Cancer Society.
- Students can interview a patron of community service agency, senior center, or soup kitchen and offer to draft printed materials for that agency.
- Offer to assist in the ESL Lab at Henry Ford Community College.
- Have students tutor with English and writing at the HFCC Learning Lab.
- Conduct an energy survey; make recommendations for energy saving in business, homes, university, and schools. Support double sided copy machines, support and promotion of vendors who use recycled products. Collect end of the year school notebooks and paper for recycling.
- Create workshop for the Greening on Homes.
- Create a highly visible garden on campus. Recruit volunteers to help work the garden and then sell plants or produce to students.
- Lead nature walks at local parks.
- Wetland restoration activities, planting, plant removal, shoreline cleanup, and seed collection.
- Organize small groups to go to area elementary schools to play games in Spanish or French.
- Students assess the nutritional value of foods served at soup kitchens and propose healthy alternatives.
- Remembering the 60’s. Students can interview and collect documents from area residents who were activists during that period.
- Poverty and Homelessness-Have students study the history of homelessness in the surrounding community. Their history and research will aid local shelters and governmental and social agencies to better serve the homeless.
- Work with local politicians and policy makes to inform them of the history of an issue and possible strategies for resolving the issues, so that they will be able to evaluate the opinions and actions of local government officials.
- Take a group of friends or associates to the Holocaust museum in West Bloomfield, Michigan.
- Interview candidates in the Veterans hospital or VFW Hall, or nursing home on a period of history.
- Take a group to Greenfield village or the Henry Ford Museum.
- Contact the Detroit Historical Society to assist with tours, special events, or office work.
- Contact the Museum of African American History. Students can assist with tours, special events, or fundraising activities.
- Students work a minimum of two hours at a non profit food related organization or activity. (Church supper, pancake breakfast, food bank, food rescue program, elderly feeding program.
- Select a nonprofit service agency that requires statistical research for program evaluation, public needs assessment, or public relations and support. Assist the agency, based on its needs, *in developing a survey tool, organizing and/or conducting the survey, compiling and analyzing data, or some combination of these or some other statistical undertakings.
- Be a math tutor at the HFCC Learning Resource Center
- Be a math tutor at an after school program.
- In statistics courses, students can learn about the ratio of stroke victims to stroke survivors. The students can participate in a walkathon or have a fund raiser for the American Heart Association.
- Students can have a canned food drive to support a local soup kitchen or food bank. Using the collected cans, students can study weights and measurements in mathematics or they can graph the number of cans in each weight category and display their findings on a wall chart.
- Students can offer to create and organize a math club at area schools.
- Students in math education could host a Family Mathematics night. Producing a variety of age-appropriate mathematics for families, and developing integrated mathematic and literacy activities for families. (Perhaps this type of event could be held at HFCC, open to the community, and co sponsored by the HFCC math club.
- Plan a holiday caroling event at a near by nursing home or retirement home.
- Focus is on participating in experiences in the community that reinforce skills and concepts addressed in NUR courses. Emphasis on nursing assessment of community needs, community as client, and community as classroom. Analysis of individual experiences through journal writing and critical reflection sessions.
- Students partner with agencies or clinics to offer simple health care services such as blood pressure screening, flu shots, or short health topics presentations.
- Working at community and church-sponsored health fairs.
- Providing Girl Scouts access to health care professionals so they can earn their health badge.
- Have students go to local retirement homes or senior citizens events and distribute information how seniors can order their prescriptions cheaper through pharmacies in Windsor, Ontario.
- Have students research the cost of prescription drugs often needed by senior citizens and research the cheapest pharmacies seniors can buy their prescriptions. Distribute this information to senior centers.
- Have students perform service at either a senior center or nursing homes, or a community service agency. Submit a reflection paper based on the ethical implications of the experience.
- Apply to referee or coach of sports team through Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan.
- Students can study the motion of waves and learn about the impact of hurricanes which are affecting the southeastern portion of the United States. Students can then organize a fundraiser to sponsor a relief organization that is assisting people in these areas. (Example, Habitat for Humanity)
- Assist in Voter Registration efforts
- Work with older citizens to assist and lobby for legislation that meet the needs of older people.
- Work on a political campaign
- Participate in a local action group
- Attend a local city hall meeting
- Work on a petition drive concerning a local or state issue.
- Get involved with the League of Women Voters
- Students can apply social psychological principles to change peoples behavior concerning recycling.
- Students can answer the hotline at a community service organization. Keep a log of the different types of people you talk on the hotline.
- Students can choose to help an organization (Non Profit) or someone they know personally (babysitting for a friend or helping a neighbor). They should write a paper on how they identified an unmet need, how they helped, and how they felt during the helping session.
- Organize a bingo game or another type of activity at an area nursing home or a Senior center.
- Assist at a community event that is being held in the metro area of Detroit. Examples, winter blast, NCAA basketball playoffs, NAACP conventions, etc. Contact the Detroit Visitor and Convention Bureau.
- Students can assist in any community service organization or non profit organization and write a reflective paper on the experience.