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Civic Engagement and Service-Learning

Engaging students, faculty, and community members in sustained partnerships that foster collaborative learning and civic participation in a diverse, democratic society

The programs of the The Mary Jane Underwood Stryker Institute for Civic Engagement strengthen the community and promote academic learning, personal growth and civic responsibility among our students. Some course-based service-learning projects only occur during a 10-week quarter; most projects are ongoing and take place within the context of reciprocal partnerships with not-for-profit agencies, public schools, government entities and grassroots efforts. Many partnership endeavors span both academic service-learning and co-curricular work in order to provide continuity and cohesiveness.

“Be not simply good; be good for something.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

More than 600 Kalamazoo College students work in the community every year, most through service-learning courses. But each year approximately 200 students are engaged in ongoing projects outside of courses. They earn minimum wage through federal work study placements or work as “volunteers,” committing to at least three hours per week throughout the term. Most work the full academic year.  These ongoing co-curricular programs are coordinated (and frequently designed) by K student leaders, who hold Civic Engagement Scholarships .   Many others also hold Americorps scholarships.  All students who participate in service-learning programs are required to attend structured reflection sessions and workshops in order to learn from their community experiences and connect them to issues of social justice.