Community Service & Service-Learning

Community Service & Service-Learning


The mission of the College of Environmental Science and Forestry is to promote the leadership necessary for the stewardship of both the natural and designed environments. (Vision 2020; 24) Through service-learning, students can participate in our mission to make the world a better place by contributing to the larger community while gaining invaluable "real world" experience and earning course credit.

What is Service-Learning?

Service-learning is a form of structured experiential education in which students engage with the community to be active learners, enrich their sense of civic responsibility and explore a practical application for course content. Faculty oversight, students’ reflective thinking and college/community reciprocity are key components of service-learning.

Anthropologist Margaret Mead said...

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

Community Service

Volunteering to improve the quality of life locally, nationally and globally is an invaluable way to develop your skills, take on greater responsibility, meet new people and gain perspective into the diverse nature of our world. With over 160 community partnerships and growing, ESF is continuously collaborating with community organizations. Numerous community engagement opportunities are available in the Syracuse community and beyond.

You may find yourself interested in a number of student organizations that incorporate community service as part of their missions. These include Alpha Phi Omega, Alpha Xi Sigma, Student Environmental Education Coalition (SEEC), Engineers without Borders, LAND|scape, Habitat for Humanity, and many more.

ESF's Community Service and Service-Learning Coordinator also facilitates community service opportunities. Each semester ESF hosts a Campus Day of Service, along with several additional opportunities that are publicized to students via e-mail. ESF students may also contact the Program Coordinator for Community Service or visit 110 Bray Hall to organize or find a volunteer activity.

After you complete any volunteer work, whether it’s one-time, ongoing or in a group, make sure to document your hours by submitting a Community Service Reporting Form.

ESF Honored for Community Service
2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll

honor rollIn recognition of its exemplary student community service and service-learning programs, ESF has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for 2012.

This recognition comes to the college from the federal government for ESF’s commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.

This is the fourth year ESF has been recognized through the Honor Roll. The College is listed among a select group of more than 600 universities honored across the nation. Read more...

"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)

Past Service-Learning Courses at ESF


Students in Kelley Donaghy’s spring General Chemistry (FCH 152) course were expected to participate in service projects that reflected the course’s objectives. That means they needed to participate in events and service activities that were grounded in chemistry. Examples of such activities include hands-on-chemistry shows, stream chemistry, mentoring middle school children and judging science fairs.  Students reflected upon their experiences through in-class presentations.    

Environmental Forest Biology

The service-learning component in Don Stewart’s spring Ichthyology (EFB 486) course was structured around a fish survey of Beaver Meadow Brook area, near Camillus, N.Y. The landowner considered donating this property to the Nine Mile Creek Conservation Council to hold in a "protected" status. Students in the lab sections of this Ichthyology class surveyed fishes in the ponds, streams and wetlands of this site to determine the fish community composition. Assessment for the presence of rare fish species was undertaken and the results were made available to the landowner and to the Conservation Council for its consideration.

Forest and Natural Resource Management

Students in Diane Kuehn’s Tourism Planning course (FOR 476/676) completed a tourism plan for the proposed Onondaga Park Arboretum and Botanical Garden in Syracuse, N.Y. The students worked with staff in the City of Syracuse Department of Parks, Recreation and Youth Programs, as well as professors at SUNY-ESF, to complete the plan.

Landscape Architecture

Students in Scott Shannon, Mike Gridley and Tim Toland’s Design Studio III (LSA 422) course worked with Country Harvest Ministries, a non-profit organization that submitted a request through the Center for Community Design Research at ESF for assistance in developing design studies for the development of a camp for a 130-acre site in Lebanon, Madison County. The students met with the property owners, their advisory committee and several other community members to ask questions to better understand the program needs and gather other information necessary for the development of the camp. Each student prepared a preliminary inventory, analysis, goals and objectives that were reviewed by committee representatives at an interim presentation and a final design plan illustrated with sketches for the final project presentation.


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