Join us as we make the world a better place!
(credit: Joan Kerley & Mark Godleski)
- What is Service-Learning?
- About SUNY-ESF
- What types of projects are done?
- What does Service-Learning Ask of Me?
- Principles of Good Campus Community Partnerships
- Helpful Hints for Success as Co-Educators
- Whom Do I Contact to Become a Community Partner?
- Don’t Take Our Word For It! - Service-Learning Testimonials
- Current SUNY-ESF Service-Learning Community Partners
Our faculties offer several service-learning courses a semester in which SUNY-ESF students assist the local community. Depending on the project and course requirements, agencies are asked to identify a project that can be completed in one semester, orient the student to your site, fill out an evaluation form to certify the student has completed the required assignments successfully and/or meet with a group of students during the semester to consult about your individual project.
The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF), founded in 1911 and located adjacent to Syracuse University in Central New York, is a small, specialized public college with an enrollment of approximately 1,650 undergraduate and 600 graduate students. The institution’s mission is "to advance the knowledge and skills of its students and to promote the leadership necessary for the stewardship of both the natural and designed environments." Students have the opportunity to study disciplines primarily grounded in the sciences including: Chemistry, Environmental and Forest Biology, Forest and Natural Resources Management, Landscape Architecture, Paper and Bioprocess Engineering, Environmental Studies, Environmental Science, Sustainable Construction Management and Engineering, Environmental Resources Engineering.
What types of projects are done?
ESF service-learning projects are limited only by the interests and needs of the community as they relate to the subject matters we teach. While below we provide a sample of projects that have been completed in the past, you are encouraged to take a look at the actual course listing for a better understanding of what types of projects are done.
Previous projects have included:
- Working with after-school programs on science-based activities
- Devising bio-retention basins for treating storm water runoff in urban Syracuse environments
- Constructing display materials for Onondaga county museums
- Mapping hiking trails for local parks
- Designing recreational uses for local waterfront areas
- Tutoring youth weekly at local schools
- Assisting a local township on land utilization projects
- Providing nature programs for inner city youth
What does service-learning ask of me?
(Adapted from http://www.marquette.edu/service/communitypartner/whatdoesslask.html)
- You, or someone you designate, will be site coordinator or “client” in the collaboration with ESF’s Service-Learning Initiative. The site coordinator is your organization's liaison with the Program. This person must be informed about the goals of the collaboration and generally assumes responsibility for the points that follow.
- Provide course-related service experiences. Our faculty will work with you in linking the service needs of your organization with course objectives.
- At the beginning of each semester, give a site orientation, and basic training information to Service-Learners who will be working with you.
- Provide basic supervision to Service-Learners.
- Be accessible to answer students' questions, make referrals, or provide information if they seek your help in their learning process.
- Keep current with Service-Learning. Our faculty will make contact with the site coordinator throughout the semester, to see how things are going, and if there are any questions, problems or agency changes that impact the collaboration. We want to maintain strong, open communication with you in order to keep current with your needs and address any issues that may arise.
Principles of Good Community Campus Partnerships
(From “Principles of Good Community Campus Partnerships” developed by Community-campus Partnerships for Health, San Francisco, CA)
- Partnerships have agreed upon mission, values, goals, and measurable outcomes for the partnership.
- The relationship between partners is characterized by mutual trust, respect, genuineness and commitment.
- The partnership builds upon identified strengths and assets, but also addresses areas that need improvement.
- The partnership balances power among partners and enables resources among partners to be shared.
- There is a clear, open and accessible communication between partners, making it an on-going priority to listen to each need, develop a common language, and validate/clarify the meaning of terms.
- Roles, norms, and processes for the partnership are established with the input and agreement of all partners.
- There is feedback to, among, and from all stakeholders in the partnership, with the goal of continuously improving the partnership and its outcomes.
- Partners share the credit for the partnership’s accomplishments.
- Partnerships take time to develop and evolve over time.
Helpful hints for success as “Co-educators”
(Adapted from http://www.marquette.edu/service/communitypartner/helpfulhintscoeducators.html)
- Be selective on where you place students. Place students in appropriate areas to meet course requirements as well as agency needs. Making sure that everyone's needs are satisfied as much as possible will save headaches later on.
- You might institute an observation for the first day of service--after the site orientation--to help students feel more comfortable starting service.
- Spend time at the beginning of the semester giving background information to students so they will be more equipped to deal with situations that may arise.
- Invite students to sit in on staff or other meetings when applicable.
- Suggest additional resources to service-learners (books, etc.).
- Hold debriefing sessions/exit interviews at the end of the semester to talk about what has happened. (It was suggested that this take the place of service on the final day, but it could also work as a separate meeting.) This could be a more in-depth final reflection time.
Who do I contact to become a Community Partner?
Community Service and Service-Learning Office
14 Bray Hall
1 Forestry Drive
Syracuse, NY 13210
"Don't Take Our Word For it!"
“Every visit has been a very positive one. The students are always pleasant and are never unprepared for any task. We always look forward to their coming.” (Sarah House)
“Thank you so much for such a delightful experience. What a joy to see the youth so relaxed with our residents!! They are still talking about the joy that made such a difference.” (Rosewood Heights Assisted Living Center)
“We learned so much in such a short time. I’m convinced the best way to learn is to be in the place you’re learning about. I will take these memories (with me) for the rest of my life.” (Student who traveled to Dominica with the FOR 523 class)
“This project has been the most satisfactory experience I have had at ESF. The community garden we build has become the symbol of the bond between my student and me, between ESF and the middle school, and perhaps between two very different worlds that exist very close to each other.” ( Megan, ESF Student)
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Service-Learning and Community Service Partners
The links below connect to course projects in which these community partners were involved:
Service Learning and Community Service Partners
Rescue Mission, Thrifty Shopper