Higher education has been abuzz about the potential behind service-learning opportunities for many years. The logistics behind service-learning can often be a significant obstacle. Connecting volunteer and social justice efforts to the classroom and also accommodating students’ busy lives can difficult to say the least.
Our library has supported a significant service learning project on our campus, ActOut Now!: Education Through Action. This is a project organized by one of our writing faculty and his students. Our library offers the space for them to hold a volunteer fair where local nonprofit groups, students, and activists come together to discuss issues and build connections. To me, this project is a manageable way to connect service-learning to the curriculum. It is a project that may also be replicated outside of higher education. Our library is not the driving force behind the project, but we offer space and promotional support through social media to help advance the project’s goals.
Troy A. Swanson is Department Chair and Teaching & Learning Librarian at Moraine Valley Community College. He is the author of the book, Managing Social Media in Libraries. You can follow him on Twitter at @t_swanson.