Improve Your Corner of the World

Service is more than just a buzzword here. It starts with Into the Streets during Autumn Term, when small groups of new students spend a few hours volunteering with youth programs, shelters and other local non-profits.

Reflective service learning (RSL)

As defined by Eckerd鈥檚 General Education program, RSL:

  • Is a carefully monitored service experience in which a student has intentional learning goals
  • Compels a student to critically reflect on what is learned throughout the experience in a way that leads to academic enhancement, civic learning and personal growth
  • Addresses community or global issues
  • Develops students鈥 understanding of their roles and responsibilities as engaged citizens

In contrast to volunteering or community service, reflective service learning emphasizes the connection between meaningful service and transformative learning. Participants combine practical experience with reflection, leading to an understanding of the social, political and economic issues at play in their service project.

Furthermore, service learning moves beyond charity, paying attention to deeper matters of justice and community enrichment. Service learning is rooted in principles of reciprocity and mutual empowerment, where all participants鈥攕tudents, faculty and community members鈥攂enefit, learn and evolve.

The RSL requirement

Before graduation, all Eckerd students must complete at least one RSL course and have a total of 20 recorded service hours. With over 20 RSL courses offered every semester, students can choose from a wide range of approaches to service. From classes such as Writing for Social Change in the Communication discipline to Food and Sustainability in Environmental Studies to Principles of Marketing in the Marketing discipline to U.S.鈥揕atin American Relations in Political Science and even Aspects of Aging in Human Development, you鈥檙e guaranteed to find a course and a project that will help you understand how we connect academic study with community engagement.

Reflect, Serve, Learn Fair

Each fall, students connect with our community partners to think outside, with real-world volunteer opportunities that strengthen their resumes and prepare them for their future.

Calls for participation

Banner photo (top): Eckerd students volunteer to restore native vegetation at Robinson Preserve, by Joe Whalen ’14