Community Engagement is a way of life at Stetson University. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching recently awarded Stetson its Community Engagement Classification in both possible categories: Curricular Engagement and Outreach and Partnerships.
Community Engagement occurs in a variety of ways at Stetson. Students, faculty, staff, and administrators routinely volunteer their time in the community doing such things as: tutoring elementary school children who are behind in their reading skills; working with Habitat for Humanity to provide low cost housing; working with state and county officials to monitor and control invasive species in local springs; and caring for animals at the final stages of their lives through Journey's End. There are several service organizations at Stetson that regularly do volunteer work in the community such as PAWS, CAUSE, Into the Streets, as well as fraternities and sororities.
Many professors require community engagement work as part of their course requirements. This is known as "service-learning." Service-learning is a pedagogical tool with which the student is able to connect theoretical learning with practical community needs in an attempt to solve those needs providing a service for the community. For example, students in a class on the Economics of Poverty help low-income families properly fill out their tax returns to maximize their tax refunds putting a personal face on poverty. Students in an advanced Spanish language class work with our local Mexican-American migrant workers to help them speak English better while at the same time sharpening their Spanish language skills. Students in a community-based research course develop community profiles that help community leaders create after-school programs for children and young adults to provide productive activities for them thus applying theoretical knowledge gained from surveys to a practical community problem.
There are many ways to get involved in the local community through Stetson, whether it be through volunteerism or though coursework, individually, or through groups. If you would like more information on how you might become communally engaged, contact our Center for Service Learning or the Marchman Program.