University of Vermont

Systems Education in CEE

Service Learning

Service Learning Field WorkAnalysisSite VisitsField WorkTestingDesignInvolvement with local communities

Service-learning places an equal emphasis on service to the community or community group, and learning for the students. The projects focus on real civil and environmental engineering problems with all the interrelated components; technical, social, environmental, regulatory, political, economic, and historical. Service learning includes developing academic, personal and civil engagement goals and using critical reflection to enhance learning and the meaning of the service learning experience. We believe it puts systems thinking into practice, as well as enhancing students teamwork, communication and other intra/interpersonal skills.

Community partners are an integral component to the service learning projects. The following are quotes from some of our community partners and students for past projects.

How did service-learning project(s) fit into the goals of your organization?

"Perfectly, we are trying to install a small hydro project and are interested in seeing the arch bridge".

"The group of students came up with plenty of useful information. A lot of ground work was provided for this project".

"Very nicely. We would love to have the students and their advisors come to Greensboro. Everyone there would appreciate your presentation".

What is the most important thing you learned/experienced during your service activities?

"That most of the engineering is the easier part, but community involvement and the permit process is very important and time consuming. Constant communication between all faculties (invested parties) involved in (the) project is key".

"Feasibility is one of the most critical elements of the projects. We can design anything but it doesn't mean it's going to work as expected".

"To be careful about balancing community member's agenda's with the interests of the entire community".

For more information about service learning, view the CUPS website.

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