Student Benefits of Service Learning
In recent years, there has been a great deal of research done on the effects of service learning at institutions of higher education. Work done by Alexander W. Astin and Linda J. Sax (1995), for example, reveals that "participation in volunteer service during the undergraduate years [enhances a] student's academic development, civic responsibility, and life skills."
Other noted benefits include:
- Deepens understanding of course content
- Student improvement in grade point averages (GPA)
- Enhancement of leadership ability
- Stronger interpersonal skills
- A greater understand of problems facing a community
St. Lawrence University has conducted research in recent years, exploring a connection between alchol consumption and participation in a community-based service-learning experience. "The average number of drinks consumed per week ... declined among students living in the center and participating in the course on community and citizenship but increased for students in our comparision group." In the same study, some evidence was also found for a decrease in depression and binge drinking among service-learning students.
No problem! Students are still able to experience service-learning programs abroad.