Service Learning

Guiding Principles to Reduce Risk in Service Learning

The following guiding principles are considered best practices throughout the field and apply to all the parties involved in service-learning experiences: service-learning staff, faculty members, community-base organizations and service-learning students. Since each service-learning course is different, these guidelines are not intended to be all encompassing. However, these do's and don'ts apply to most situations. (If you feel something included here is prohibitive to the service-learning experience you hope to offer to your students, please have a discussion that includes the faculty member, the service-learning office, and a university rank manager.) The intent of these guidelines is not to prohibit service-learning experiences, but rather, to provide best practices that allow for safe and positive service environments where the risk and liability have been minimized.

For Service-Learning University Students

  • DO participate in orientation for your service-learning experience.
  • DO make sure you know whom to contact at the site and at the university in case of an emergency.
  • DO make sure you know how to exit your service site in case of emergency.
  • DO ask for help from your supervisor or another staff member at your service site when in doubt.
  • DO be punctual and responsible in completing your commitment to the service site.
  • DO call your site supervisor if you know you will be late or not able to come in at all.
  • DO keep all information about your clients you work with confidential.
  • DO show respect for your service site, its staff, and its clients.
  • DO be aware that there are representing your university.
  • DO know that if you are having trouble at your service site, you can talk with your faculty member about it.
  • DO sign-in at your service site every time you are there, and record your service hours on your student service log. This will ensure you receive credit for the hours you have served.
  • DO know that you can request an alternative service site if you are not comfortable with your current site.
  • DON'T report to your service site under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • DON'T give or loan a client money or other personal belongings.
  • DON'T make promises or commitments to a client that you cannot keep.
  • DON'T give a client or community-based organization representative a ride in a personal vehicle.
  • DON'T tolerate verbal exchange of a sexual nature or engage in behavior that might be perceived as sexual with a client or community-based organization representative.
  • DON'T tolerate verbal exchange or engage in behavior that might be perceived as discriminating against an individual on the basis of his /her age, race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, or ethnicity.
  • DON'T engage in any type of business with clients during the term if your service.
  • DON'T enter into personal relationships wit ha client or community-based organization representative during the term of your service.
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