Service Learning

The Character of Service

Service learning and civic engagement is an integral part of a Bryant University education. Bryant's mission is to develop you into well-rounded, socially conscious leaders who will use your experiences and understanding to create a culture of community involvement and corporate responsibility at your future workplaces and communities.

About

Service learning combines the ideals of volunteering, learning, and reflection. In service learning activities, you will have the opportunity to get out into the community and perform work that improves society.

Returning to the classroom, you'll examine and understand the issues facing the people and organizations for whom and with whom you've worked. Then, you'll devise solutions aiming to make real, systematic change in the community through innovative initiatives.

Research shows that students learn a lot through projects that combine community service with academics. When you have the opportunity to connect what you are learning in class to service projects in the community, you will also discover more about yourself, your values, and how to be of service.

Bryant's community partners say that the University's student service learners are well organized, talented, energetic, and committed to making a difference for organizations.

The courses

At Bryant, no matter what program of study you choose, you can do your part to better society and learn a lot about yourself along the way. In service learning courses, faculty design opportunities that link lessons in the classroom with service and learning experiences in the community.

Bryant's Sociology program offers a major and minor in service learning. You'll learn the root cause of social problems and work with community partners to understand issues - such as the achievement gap in schools, health disparities in our communities, the decline in funding for services to the disabled - and work on solutions.

In Management 200, a course required of all students, you'll be a member of a team that partners with local nonprofit agencies and applies management skills to semester-long projects that include fundraising, operations management, event planning, and program development.

Bryant's Literary & Cultural Studies courses feature partnerships that have linked students with populations of immigrants, refugees, and Native American children. In these courses, you'll learn about the challenges and opportunities of cultural and linguistic diversity and develop programs with partners that benefit local agencies and heighten your understanding of culture and language.

In History courses, you may create opportunities to conduct oral histories with community partners and produce videos that help chronicle important historical trends by focusing on local organizations and individuals.

Bryant's service learning program is supported by the federally funded AmeriCorps/VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) program. As part of a year of service, the VISTA works with students in the Sociology department to identify service learning opportunities.

Community service and civic engagement

In addition to service learning opportunities, Bryant students lead a variety of clubs and organizations that are dedicated to getting involved in the community and have a long track record of making a difference.

Students interested in volunteering their time and skills can join service clubs and organized activities, including:

  • Alternative Spring Break
  • Big Brothers and Big Sisters
  • Bryant Builds (Habitat for Humanity)
  • Bryant Helps
  • Bulldogs Building Bridges
  • Raise Your Voice Week
  • Service Council
  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program
  • Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE)

In addition to these clubs and student organizations, the Office of Campus Engagement employs two students as Student Service Learning Leaders to create and foster relationships with local nonprofits and provide opportunities for Bryant students to volunteer in the community.

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To learn more, please contact:

Sandra Enos, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Sociology/Service Learning
senos@bryant.edu