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Service Learning and Community Service

Every year since 2010, Grand View has been named to Presidential Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for meaningful service that achieves measurable results in the community. 

At Grand View we provide students with opportunities for service that enhance learning and the growth of the whole person. Service to others is not only an investment in the success of others, but is also an investment in one’s self. Meaningful service is connected with academic goals using partnerships between the university and community agencies. Educational skills are reinforced while students engage in work that contributes to the community agency and the larger society. The skills, experiences, and perspectives gained from community service are reaped many times over by those who volunteer their time and talent. We look forward to working with you in these rewarding activities.

Service learning opportunities
Trips are offered during Spring Break. As an example, for several years students traveled to Biloxi, Mississippi, to work on reconstruction projects needed as a result of Hurricane Katrina. The projects were assigned through ELCA associations working in the area. Before leaving, students were trained in basic construction skills like using a drill, hammer and paintbrush. The trips were partially funded by the students and supplemented by fundraising efforts that the students were expected to assist with.

For information on getting involved on the resources we provide for community service and service learning, please contact:

Heidi Pries
Director of Student Involvement and New Student Programs

Goals of Service Learning

* To provide opportunities for students to interact with diverse populations.
* To meet the needs of the Des Moines community.
* To foster civic engagement.
* To develop a lifelong commitment to service.
* To live out the mission of Grand View.

The effects of service learning

(Campus Compact, 2000)
* Students engaged in service learning report stronger faculty relationships than those that are not involved in service learning.
* Service learning has a positive effect on reducing stereotypes and facilitating cultural and racial understanding.
* Service learning participation has an impact on academic outcomes such as understanding, problem analysis, critical thinking and cognitive development.
* Students and faculty report that service learning improves students’ ability to apply what they have learned to the “real world.”
* Community service affects student retention.
* Service learning improves student satisfaction with college.
* Students who participate in service learning in college are more likely to vote, more likely to stay in college, volunteer in their communities, and overall they learn more.
* Students that engage in service learning are more likely to feel engaged with the institution, therefore more likely to give back to the institution after graduation.


Grand View Community Service/Service Learning will provide the following resources:
* Develop and maintain relationships with community organizations.
* Assist faculty in providing sites with appropriate opportunities for students.
* Assist with documentation of the student hours.
* Assist with coordinating the placement of the volunteers.
* Evaluate the student’s experience with the community organization.
* Evaluate the community organization’s experience with the University.
* Conduct class presentations to discuss a variety of service learning opportunities.
* Keep a central list of placements for each semester.
* Review placement proposals received from students each semester.
* Visit students while they are on site.
* Provide training or workshops for faculty who seek assistance on service learning.

Examples of GV service

Students in the Education Club offer assistance to local schools by organizing after school clubs, chaperoning events, and helping with miscellaneous tasks.  Club members are encouraged to help tutor at afterschool programs.  GV students have also partnered with the Gear Up Program at East and North High Schools and talked to these students about the importance of furthering their education beyond high school.

Approximately 100 GV student leaders volunteer each year to serve in the community.  They recently volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, cleaning up Habitat neighborhoods and the grounds of an elementary school.  Teachers, administrators and students were grateful and said it brought their spirits up and increased their school pride.

GV nursing students are asked to develop partnerships with agencies to serve families, helping them make healthy choices. In the past, students have partnered with the Blood Center of Iowa, coordinating blood drives twice each year on GVs campus. They also coordinate collecting items for hygiene kits for the homeless, clothing drive for homeless shelters, and blood pressure screenings.

Additional service sites:
Southern Care Hospice
Des Moines Before and After School Arts Program
Animal Rescue League
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Luther Park
State Historical Building
Living History Farms
Festival of Trees and Lights
Boys and Girls Club of Central Iowa.