Warren Wilson College Catalog 04-05Go to the current College Catalog
Service Learning Program
Through the Service-Learning Program at Warren Wilson College, students expand their education while simultaneously addressing issues of social and environmental justice.
Service experiences enable students to
- work with communities in improving quality of life,
- gain perspective on academic material,
- engage in pre-professional work,
- develop leadership skills,
- apply theoretical concepts to real-world problems,
- meet with diverse populations, and
- learn how much they can offer to the world.
While the Work Program primarily serves the needs of the College community, the Service- Learning Program reaches beyond Warren Wilson boundaries to address needs in other communities. Students serve locally with a wide variety of organizations such as the Mountain Area Child and Family Center, Project STEAM, Asheville Buncombe County Education Coalition, Mountain Housing Opportunities, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Hospitality House Shelter, Clean Water for NC, and MANNA Food Bank. Service is also a component of Warren Wilson WorldWide field courses, located in Africa, Latin America, Europe, and Asia.
Students often initiate their own projects to match individual interests and skills. In addition, professors develop service-learning experiences within the context of specific courses, and the Service-Learning Program advertises and plans many projects. Personal commitment to a service project varies from one day experiences, to break trips, to semester-long, year-long, or four-year experiences. Many students continue their service projects after graduation; some secure jobs through their service experiences.
- Each student must complete 100 hours of community service with an approved agency, at least 25 hours of which has been earned through an "extended project" related to a single issue area.
- Of the total, 60 hours must be completed before registration for the student's senior year near the end of the junior year.
- Seniors must provide the Service-Learning office with fully completed Verification Forms for the 100 required service hours, and an extended project paper or other approved extended project reflection, by exactly one week following the date the Senior Letter is due to department chairs. The full Service-Learning requirement must be completed and verified by this date for the student to graduate.
The Extended Project and Extended Project Reflection
- The 25 hours or more are spent focused on a single issue.
- The student's reflection is expected to demonstrate understanding of the underlying causes of the problem addressed, to offer long-term solutions, and/or to comment on the insights obtained through the service. This reflection component may be completed through a written reflection paper of a minimum of 800 words or through a pre-approved oral extended project presentation to the campus community or to a community non-profit organization. Students are encouraged to present their experiences to the campus community.
Documentation of Service Hours and Statute of Limitations
- The student must turn in Service Verification Forms for all service accomplished with a pre-approved agency during a current academic year, after the completion of the service and by the last day of spring semester classes.
- If the student desires to provide service to an agency that is not pre-approved, the student must submit a proposal, consistent with the College mission, to the director of the Service-Learning Program. The proposal will be reviewed and the student notified of the decision within two weeks. If the student intends to offer the service time only if the service is approved for service credit, the proposal should be submitted and acted upon before the service begins.
- Service with an academic class or other group may be documented differently. It is the student's responsibility to submit verification forms to the Service-Learning Office to ensure documentation.
- are those that are recognized nationally as providing needed services to communities;
- are those that do not profit financially from the provision of these services; and
- may include United Way affiliates, public and private (K-12) schools, government organizations (federal, state, or local), churches or other religious organizations, and other nonprofit agencies with 501c3 tax status.
Limitations on Service Credit
- Training hours earn service credit only if they result in service to the community. Service credit is based on the relationship of the training hours to the hours of service subsequently performed and is limited to one-fourth of the direct service hours. For example, if a student has 10 hours of training, and then serves for 20 hours, total credit would be 25 hours. (20 service hours + 1/4 of 20 = 25.) If the student trains for 10 hours and serves for 40 hours, the total service credit would be 50 hours. (40 service hours + 1/4 of 40 = 50.)
- Time for travel to and from a service site or time sleeping overnight at a service site does not earn service credit.
- Students can receive a maximum of 8 hours credit for any 24-hour period of service, and a maximum of 45 hours credit for any 7 day period.
- Each year a graduating senior is awarded the Warren Wilson College Service Award for outstanding service to the community. Also, seniors with outstanding service records are honored at a senior service recognition reception in May.
Examples of Service Projects
- Tutoring children in reading, writing, and mathematics at local schools
- Participating in mentoring programs such as Big Brothers, Big Sisters
- Leading outdoor adventure activities with youth-at-risk
- Cleaning up rivers and maintaining trails
- Reaching out to people who are homeless through meals, hospitality, and action
- Supporting terminally ill patients and their families through Hospice
- Caring for animals at a local animal shelter
- Teaching environmental education through schools and nature centers
- Building homes with Habitat for Humanity
- Establishing an international presence in zones of violence in Guatemala
- Winterizing an elderly neighbor's home, with appropriate agency verification
- Monitoring water quality in local streams
- Running a non-partisan voter registration drive
- Coaching youth sports
- Leading self-esteem-building activities for recovering substance abusers
- Facilitating art and music projects with Head Start children
Bonner Scholars Program
The 1999-2000 Academic Year marked the beginning of a new four-year service scholarship program at Warren Wilson College, the Bonner Scholars Program. This program gives participating students opportunities to develop strong skills in the areas of tutoring and mentoring, problem-solving, communication skills, team building and conflict resolution, project planning, reflective journaling, self-awareness, and leadership.
The program involves a unique collaboration between Service-Learning and the Work program. Bonner Scholars are members of the Service-Learning Work Crew for their four years in the program. Bonner Scholars receive scholarship funds, generally of $2,000-$4,000 per year, based on need, and a summer service stipend for internships with non-profit organizations for two summers.
The 20 to 28 Bonner Scholars are actively engaged in biweekly tutoring and mentoring of disadvantaged students from city and county public schools. They befriend children in the Swannanoa valley through a weekly on-campus Big Brother/Big Sister Program, and volunteer regularly at MANNA Food Bank and Delta House After-School Program. In addition, they work with other Service-Learning student crew members in planning a large variety of service projects, including weeklies, Saturday projects, and week-long service break trips in the fall, winter, and spring.
The Bonner Scholars Program exemplifies the College's commitment to making a difference in our local community, as well as enriching students' lives through a strong emphasis on service.
Persons interested in learning more about the Bonner Scholars are encouraged to go to the web at www.warren-wilson.edu/mainpage/outside_main2.html. Look at Programs, Service, and Bonner.