Service Learning House
A small housing option is available on campus for students interested in living in a residential setting built around promoting volunteerism, service learning and community engagement. The Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement is located at 619 West Center Street. House applications are available in the Service Learning Office or in Word form by clicking here.
The Service Learning Program is not restricted to the Alma College campus or the regular academic year. For many years, the College has had students participate in service experiences in countries such as Honduras, India, Jamaica, Mexico, and Poland. Within Michigan, service experiences have included work in job training programs in the Detroit metropolitan area, Grand Rapids, and Saginaw; in schools; in migrant and bilingual literacy programs throughout rural Michigan; and with fitness and wellness programs, public forums, and county court systems in surrounding areas. Students have also worked in tutoring projects, environmental research, health monitoring, public policy implementation, economic development, job training, and housing rehabilitation. They have gained experience in schools, hospices, prisons, and nursing homes and have assisted with child immunization programs, Habitat for Humanity and river clean-up programs.
Students with service learning experience enter a variety of graduate programs and find careers related to service experiences. Many follow up their Alma service with active lives as volunteers in the communities where they live after graduation. Service learning alumni have pursued such graduate programs as public policy at the University of Chicago, environmental law at Vermont Law School, and medicine at Michigan State University. Other graduate schools attended by service learning students include the University of Notre Dame Law School, American University, and George Washington University. Students with service learning experience teach around the country, direct public environmental agencies, and provide health services in understaffed rural and urban areas. As a result of their service experiences, some students have received offers of graduate fellowship in support of preparation for return to the agency as a physician, teacher, or administrator.
Through academic service learning courses, Alma College students serve the community in a variety of ways. Students in creative writing classes teach poetry to elderly residents and to prison inmates. Education students design curricula for community programs. Kinesiology students administer aerobic exercise and strength training programs to senior citizens. Sociology students provide support services to women and their children. Students in religious studies classes provide volunteer help to Community Cafe, Habitat for Humanity projects, and community environmental organizations. Business students spend 4-5 hours per week providing assistance with business practices to nonprofit agencies. Spanish students teach Spanish in the elementary classrooms. Chemistry students perform environmental assessments. Public affairs students work on advocacy projects. Students of all disciplines volunteer to serve as big brothers or big sisters, supervise playground activities for area youth, and provide mentoring. The integration of traditional classroom instruction of theory with the opportunity for experiential learning, according to faculty and students alike, has changed the way that teaching and learning occur at Alma College.