The Office for Community-Engaged Learning offers a portfolio of service programs designed to engage students in helping to address community-defined needs. In line with our office mission, these programs help SRU students build their civic identities by connecting people and issues, transform knowledge and awareness, and inspire on-going civic action to create a more inclusive and just society. Below you can find descriptions of the service programming offered through our office.
On-Going Service Programs by Issue (Semester- or Year-Long Service)
Intergenerational Relationship Building: How does capturing wisdom from the life stories of others, empower us to write our own?
Dream Chasers is a program developed in partnership with Quality Life Services (QLS), Don't Stop Dreamin', and The Legacy Recorder. Dream Chasers pairs Slippery Rock University students with residents of QLS Grove City or QLS Mercer, long-term care facilities, and over the semester, students engage in conversations and activities with the residents. These interactions provide the content that becomes the student-produced written legacies that are then given back to the residents and the residents' families as a keep-sake. SRU student can also use the conversations to complete Don't Stop Dreamin' applications, which help the organization realize dreams for residents, both big and small.
"I have learnt so much about how important and meaningful it is to communicate with people, not only with the elder population. This experience opened my eyes and made me more personable and open-minded." - Dream Chasers volunteer
For more information, visit Dream Chasers on CORE or send an email here.
Animal Rights & Advocacy: Is the care of animals a duty, a service, a privilege, or an investment?
Shelter Sidekicks is a program developed in partnership with Butler County Humane Society and Lawrence County Humane Society. Students travel to these Humane societies for direct service with the staff and animals at these facilities. After engaging in service, students return to campus for reflections where they work with powerful questions and draw connections between the services they provide in the shelter to other animal rights and advocacy topics.
"This program has helped me grow and communicate better with both our community partner and the other volunteers. I've grown more compassionate towards the animals. Beforehand . . . there was still the stigma in the back of my mind that animals in shelters were aggressive. This project has changed my perspective on that." - Shelter Sidekicks Volunteer
For more information, visit the Shelter Sidekicks on CORE or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Youth Development: What does it mean to be a good neighbor?
Rock Star Neighbors is a program developed in partnership with the SRU Child Care Center. SRU students serve as mentors to youth in the afterschool program that supports children ranging in age from Kindergarten to 5th Grade. SRU mentors provide support with homework and engage mentees in fun activities to help children feel connected, develop social skills, and learn what is means to be members of a community.
"Being a leader is being the person that people look up to for guidance, ask questions to...it is a group effort, not just one person being the leader." - Rock Star Neighbors volunteer
For more information, visit the Rock Star Neighbors on CORE or email email@example.com
Short-Term Service Programs & Event
Local Hunger: How do we address local hunger in a national culture of abundance?
The Slippery Rock University chapter of Empty bowls, started in 1996, is an annual advocacy event in Fall semester that aims to address immediate food need in the Slippery Rock community. The event is a partnership between the OCEL, SRU's Art Department, and Potter's Guild student organization. Students enrolled in ceramics courses and members of the SRU Potters Guild craft handmade bowls, and learn about the role of community arts in addressing need. At the Empty Bowls event, members of the campus and community come together to learn about local hunger, purchase meager meals of soup and bread served in the crafted bowls, and take home the bowls as a reminder that hunger is an on-going issue for many in our community. Proceeds from the event support local food pantries and emergency food suppliers.
Project Elf, a Slippery Rock tradition since 1989, bring Slippery Rock students, staff, and faculty together as individuals and groups to purchase gifts for low-income children and adults with
disabilities during the holiday season. Local non-profit organizations provide a non-identifiable list of recipients, and requested items provided by parents or non-profit staff members, though donors are welcome to purchase other items as well. Donors and recipients can be any- or no-faith individuals.
Names are distributed during late November, and items are collected at Seasons of Giving.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Urban Renewal: How does creativity rejuvenate a shared sense of community identity and pride?
North Braddock, a suburb of Pittsburgh, was one of many communities transformed by the changes in the steel industry during the late 20th century.
As jobs left the community, so did many residents. Slippery Rock University has partnered with North Braddock Carnegie Library, North Braddock Cares, and other community groups in the borough, to engage SRU students one weekend each semester learning about the community and completing community-defined service projects to promote a safer, healthier North Braddock.
For more information, contact email@example.com
If you are looking to engage with community service, but our office doesn't offer a program that fits your interest or needs, we encourage you to explore CORE. CORE is SRU's involvement platform; there, you can find student organizations dedicated to hosting community service, community organizations seeking SRU volunteers, and campus-wide service events.