Direct service is about hands-on involvement and taking action to address issues of immediate need or concern in social or ecological communities. Direct service can be one-time only projects, an on-going commitment, working with a group, or working individually. Some organizations are considered “direct service providers,” meaning their mission is to meet people’s immediate needs, such as food, shelter, clothing, or medical care. Direct service encompasses anything from visiting with the elderly in a nursing home to trail maintenance in local parks to packing food. We strongly encourage students to engage in an on-going basis to allow for service work to be most meaningful for you and the community agency.
Service-learning is the integration of meaingful learning, community service, and reflection. Service-learning requires partnership and collaboration between students, community partners, and faculty/staff to address community identified needs while engaging students in hands-on, experiential learning about issues of local concern.
The Carnegie Foundation defines service-learning as “…teaching, learning and scholarship engaging faculty, students, and community in mutually beneficial and respectful collaboration. Their interactions address authentic, community-identified needs, deepen students’ civic and academic learning, encourage lifelong civic engagement, enhance community well-being, and enrich the scholarship of the institution.”
"Service-Learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility and strengthen communities." - Corporation for National and Community Service
Oregon State University will be developing more service-learning courses in the upcoming months and years. Please check back for updates and also consult with your academic advisor to find out about service-learning courses within your academic programs!
Being an active citizen and engaging in your community and issues important to your community is a key part of civic engagement. Your lifestyle and the personal gestures you make everyday have significant impact on the quality of life in your community and the people and places around you. Daily actions and lifestyles speak to your character and values. Having a community or civic-oriented lifestyle means you consider how your decisions impact the quality of life of those around you in your every day actions.
These are some ways to grow as an engaged community member:
One of the most crucial ways to make a difference is to use your power as a consumer, making your voice heard through your purchasing decisions. If you need to buy products, choosing to buy products from a socially conscious point of view is a great way to participate in civic engagement during your every day routine. Buying fair trade and/or local products reduces or eliminates the need for mass production, causing pollution and unfair working situations, and benefits the artisan directly. By participating in this type of lifestyle, the local economy will grow and more individuals can earn their way out of poverty. Read more about how you can be a socially-conscious shopper.