University-Based Community Service-Learning for the Environment

By: University of Alberta – Augustana Campus

The University of Alberta’s Augustana campus embraces community service-learning (CSL) to create significant environmental achievements on campus and throughout the Camrose community engagement. As a high-impact learning strategy, the objectives of CSL are to integrate meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. Of the 2657 CSL placements completed since 2007, 36% had an environmental focus, which supported 67 local agencies and non-profit organizations. With each CSL placement committing 20-50 hours of volunteer work, these environmental CSL placements resulted in at least 19,000 volunteer hours toward environmental projects, including research, inventories, demonstrations, education, advocacy, and policy development on projects related to wildlife conservation, water consumption, air pollution, energy conservation, waste reduction, vegetation management, sustainable food production, and environmental awareness. Among the many examples, over the course of 5 years, the Camrose Public Library’s Environmental Education program has engaged 41 CSL students in leading interactive, educational and environmental activities to over 400 children. After completing their placements, 68% of CSL students reported they were inspired to continue volunteering in the community.