Service-Learning Projects – Why They’ll Work for Your Students!

Posted by Bonnie Larson on 2/19/19 6:30 AM

The most successful fundraising event in recent years has been a Feed the Need event, where students are sponsored (much like a Walk-a-Thon) to pack 10,000 meals for a third-world country. Whether it is Feed the Need, a project with Habitat for Humanity, a mission trip, a trip to the local nursing home, or a feeding shift at the local homeless shelter, there are a number of benefits to these service projects for a few reasons:

  • They are highly interactive
  • They are experiential hands-on activities
  • They are relevant to the context of character building in helping someone less fortunate or in need of our help


Students sitting at a table in a library while learning and working on a laptop


According to research by Eyler and Giles (1999), Astin (2000) and Eyler et al. (2001), the positive benefits of Service-learning projects are:

  • Service-learning improves student academic outcomes as demonstrated through complexity of understanding, problem analysis, critical thinking, and cognitive development (Astin et al., Eyler et al., Eyler and Giles)
  • Students reported that they learned more and were motivated to work harder in a service-learning class than in traditionally taught classes (Eyler and Giles)
  • Students and faculty report that service-learning improves students' ability to apply what they've learned in the "real world" (Astin et al., Eyler et al., Eyler and Giles)

And the personal benefits to the student are:

  • stronger faculty-student relationships
  • personal development growth in personal identity, spiritual growth and moral development
  • interpersonal development
  • cultivates stereotypes and facilitates cultural and racial understanding
  • increases commitment to service

Sure, designing a service-learning experience, implementing that experience, learning through reflection, and assessment takes preparation, but the results are well worth it.

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Topics: event fundraising