Information for Site Partners
Staff and site clientele are invaluable partners in our Project Community students' service-learning experiences. We strive to ensure that our partnership with each community organization is mutually beneficial to the students as well as the clients, staff members, and overall mission of the sites where they serve.
Staff in the Project Community program maintains direct contact with one or two specific staff members (our "site contacts") at each community organization where our students serve. However, we recognize that student volunteers may interact with a variety of staff, all of whom contribute to the students' learning experience. With this in mind, what follows is a bit of basic information which may be useful to anyone who works with our students.
- Please review the Important Dates for Site Partners calendar, to remind yourself of the University's academic calendar and breaks for the upcoming year.
- All Project Community students are receiving course credit for their service with their designated community organization.
- All Project Community students participate in a weekly, peer-facilitated seminar where they discuss their site experiences and course readings, considering both through a sociological lens.
- Students are not graded; they are evaluated on a credit/no-credit basis depending on their satisfactory completion of course requirements.
- Students are allowed 1 unexcused absence from site. A second absence must be made up. After three absences from site the student will not receive credit for the course. (Some accommodations may be made in the case of medical or family emergencies. Any questions should be directed to the Sociology Undergraduate Program Coordinator Nicole Rutherford.)
- Talk with the Project Community Peer Facilitator assigned to your site at the beginning of the term to go over expectations and needs, and identify the best communication mechanism (email, phone, in person, etc.) to use throughout the term.
- Identify meaningful, interactive tasks for the Project Community students throughout the term.
- Provide students with access to training regarding site policies and activities that are pertinent to the students' involvement.
- Work with the Peer Facilitator, students, and site staff to determine a sufficient schedule of volunteer shifts and/or opportunities within the first two weeks of the semester. Consistent dates and times are encouraged.
- Communicate with the Peer Facilitator on a consistent basis throughout the term.
- Communicate with the Project Community Associate Director regarding any concerns or highlights about the Project Community students' involvement at site.
- Provide sufficient training to each student volunteer regarding site policies and activities that are pertinent to their involvement.
- Provide students with meaningful, active service opportunities where they will interact with the site's population.
- Provide students with the materials and/or space necessary to complete any tasks they are assigned.
- Hear constructive student feedback about their experiences and work with them to ensure a mutually beneficial service-learning experience.
- Complete 3-4 hours of meaningful community service at their designated community site each week.
- Spend the majority of their service hours interacting with the organization's clientele (youth, patients, community members, etc.) or staff.
- Actively seek out learning experiences and opportunities to support the organization and its mission.
- Provide the Peer Facilitator and site staff with constructive feedback about their experiences over the course of the semester.
- Provide appropriate site staff with a minimum of 24 hours notice if they are unable to attend site and need to reschedule (if possible). If they do not provide sufficient notice, it is counted as an absence, and cannot be made up.
- Document their hours at site.
- Complete weekly journals assigned by their Peer Facilitator.
- Complete weekly readings assigned by their Graduate Student Instructor.
- Complete one mid-term paper and one final action project.
Examples of Excellent Service-Learning OpportunitiesWhat kinds of projects work well for the Project Community program?
- One-on-One tutoring and mentorship
- Preparing and leading group activities
- Actively participating in community outreach and education
- Engaging community members in conversation as they wait to meet with site staff
- Organizing and participating in group outings
- Preparing for, participating in, and evaluating organization events
While we recognize that community organizations benefit from volunteer support with "less exciting" tasks, we ask that site staff keep in mind that the students' service work is contributing to their learning experience as part of an academic class. While it is okay to have students occasionally participate in "filler" activities like cleaning, organizing bookshelves, making copies, etc., we expect that site staff and students make every effort to ensure that the students are actively interacting with community members whenever possible.