Service Learning is both a teaching and learning strategy where meaningful community service is integrated with instruction and reflection to enrich the classroom learning experience. This type of experiential learning teaches civic responsibility and strengthens communities.
At Mercyhurst University, there are a variety of service-learning courses. Some students participate in project-based service-learning where others complete a minimum of 10 hours of service at a non-profit community-based agency. In both cases, the course instructor incorporates the service experience into the class through reflection techniques, discussion, or research papers. The Director of Community Engagement coordinates this program, along with support from the Coordinator of Service-Learning, by working with faculty members from multiple disciplines and over 70 community partners to mobilize more than 400 students in service each semester.
The Service Learning Office has an AmeriCorps VISTA member who helps to coordinate special campus and community-based service projects. Currently, the VISTA is coordinating a food recovery program that collects food from local businesses and distributes it to nonprofits such as the Erie City Mission and Mercy Center for Women, among others.
The Service Learning Office also coordinates student transportation to several community sites in Erie.