Community Partnerships and Service Learning
Service opportunities at Sarah Lawrence College include, but are not limited to: teaching English as a second language, leading writing workshops with prison inmates, working with children of incarcerated parents, promoting sustainability, mentoring school-age students in afterschool programs, and educating young people in AIDS awareness.
We have a rich history of education for social responsibility and a commitment to the integration of service with learning. Through community work, students can broaden their academic inquiry, develop a deeper understanding of self and other, establish relationships with many people including role models, learn life-long skills, and clarify goals and values. The Anita L. Stafford Community Partnerships and Service Learning Program staff helps to facilitate for faculty and students ways to incorporate community-based learning opportunities into academic work. These opportunities take place in Yonkers, New York City, and other surrounding communities.
Students can register for a service-learning course where community work is an integral part of course requirements. Our office works hand-in-hand with faculty to help develop community relationships and placements pertinent to their academic course of study. Together, the College and community organizations collaborate to help students learn about their placements and the social issues relevant to them.
Another option for students is to include service work as part of their conference projects. Some courses encourage students to compliment their academic work with a community-based learning component. Interested students come to the office for individual assistance in finding placements related to their academic interests.
Individual Opportunities and One-Day Service Options
The Community Partnerships and Service-Learning Office provides a database of community-based organizations for students who wish to pursue volunteer opportunities that are not connected to a course or a conference project. Throughout each semester, there are also several opportunities for “do-it-in-a day” activities advertised in the daily email, including environmental cleanup at local sites, Habitat for Humanity projects, and working on an organic farm.
The Office of Community Partnerships and Service-Learning provides funding, advisory support, and skills in community development to students wishing to organize their peers in the performance of community work. Seeking to foster strong relationships with community agencies, teams of student volunteers work weekly with community members to carry out long-term projects that span semesters or years. Leadership positions are ceded to younger members to ensure the partnership is maintained beyond the four-year academic cycle of any one student.
Alternative Spring Breaks
The office sponsors two alternative spring break programs a year. These programs take a select cohort of students outside of the metropolitan area to perform community work and to live communally for a week. Leading up to the trip, the group organizes fundraisers, participates in group building projects, and prepares logistics.
Community Partnerships is responsive to students’ and faculty interests and passions for community work. The office offers a funding process that can support new and growing initiatives up to a certain amount.
A wide range of non-profits and community-based agencies partner each year with the College. The Office of Community Partnerships assists in maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with on-campus and off-campus individuals and organizations to build the capacity of all communities.
Incoming first-year students can apply to be a part of the office’s pre-orientation program focused on civic engagement. Participants arrive on campus four days before the start of orientation to live and work together in a Yonkers’ community. Last year students volunteered with a community garden and youth program.
Community Engagement Initiative
The Community Engagement Initiative (CEI) works with emerging social entrepreneurs/social change agents in a year-long project to identify and address challenges within our community. CEI “fellows” attend workshops on how to identify, leverage, and advocate for strong communities. The CEI is a collaborative effort of the Offices of Community Partnerships and Diversity & Campus Engagement. The program seeks individuals looking for innovative, immediate, small-scale solutions to community challenges.
College vehicles and stipends for public transportation are available to assist with transportation to and from community-based placements.
Mara Gross, Director
Jason Beck, Placement Coordinator
Phone (914) 395-2573
Fax: (914) 395-2666