Experiential Learning Through Service

One of the most enriching and memorable parts of the Booth University College experience is participating in Urban Service Learning, which combines academic study, community engagement and critical reflection. You’ll gain work and volunteer experience for your heart and your resume while connecting with other like-minded students who feel empowered to create positive change in our communities.

Change lives through Service Learning

As a core requirement of our certificate and degree programs, all students take part in service learning, through urban service learning or social work practicums. By connecting civic engagement to the curriculum, we enrich your learning and provide you with meaningful opportunities to broaden your understanding of the course content. You’ll develop civic awareness and leadership skills while giving back to the community and helping those most in need. Focusing on social concerns such as homelessness, gang life, exploitation and poverty, you’ll step out of the classroom to become immersed in service to the poor and vulnerable people living in the heart of Winnipeg. You’ll learn about compassion, responsibility and service. You’ll gain an in-depth knowledge of the causes of injustice, inequality and suffering around the world – while at the same time building self-awareness and changing lives.

What Is Service Learning?

Service Learning is much more than volunteering in the community.  This is the field placement component of the Urban Service Learning course (USL 151) that integrates the core values of Booth University College (hope, justice and mercy) with the lived experience of urban service.  Reflection forms the key link between thinking and doing, learning and service.  Service learning is focused on a social need in a marginalized sector of Winnipeg. It involves building relationships over time at a single site, and it stretches the student through challenges in a new setting.

Benefits of Service Learning

  • Service Learning affirms our identity as Christians to serve the community in a variety of different ways while learning.
  • It affirms the importance of experience and the value of integrating practical knowledge with formal training.
  • It offers students the opportunity for personal development while enhancing life, job, and career skills such as confidence, communication and time management skills.
  • It provides students with a way to develop social and interpersonal skills by allowing students to work in groups with different generations.
  • It develops within students a sense of civic responsibility, a sensitivity to other cultures, and an appreciation of cultural diversity.
  • It enriches the local community by serving community organizations, helping them meet the needs of the community by engaging students in opportunities outside of campus.

Your Service Learning Experience 

The Urban Service Learning course is usually scheduled for the winter term and includes 30 hours of service in addition to scheduled class time. An orientation in October or November will provide students with an overview of the Urban Service Learning course requirements so they’re ready to begin in January. Students select from a variety of sites that have been pre-screened to fit course content. Placements usually begin the second week of class and all 30 hours must be completed by the last day of class. No service learning practicum hours are scheduled on statutory holidays (e.g., Louis Riel Day).

Service Learning Schedule and Hours

Service learning hours must be documented in writing. You’re responsible for documenting your hours by signing an Hours Verification Form at each shift. The site supervisor will initial the hours worked and evaluate the quality and effectiveness of your service. Upon completion of your Service Learning and before the last day of class, you’re responsible for returning the form to your professor. Travel time does not count as service learning time. Some sites have their own volunteer sign in process which does not substitute for the Verification Forms. 

Service Learning should be part of your weekly schedule, and treated like a job. If you can’t make it for any reason, contact your site supervisor ahead of time. Failing to do so will affect your service learning grade.

Any changes in schedule will be communicated to you by email.  Check your e-mail on the days you have service learning.

Selecting a Service Learning Site

You’re encouraged to select one service learning site since consistency is crucial for the service learning experience and building relationships. The sites offered have been carefully screened to fit course content, and there is a variety so everyone should be able to find something to their liking. Changing to a different service learning site requires your professor’s permission. Commuters with potential service sites near home can speak to their professor for individual approval. Students are responsible for arranging transportation to and from their Urban Service Learning placement, and are responsible for all travel costs incurred.

“The opportunity to meet and help people from all over the world with diverse backgrounds and personal experiences is priceless. The most important lesson I learned is to give without expectations – give and be fulfilled.”

– Christiane Voss (BA/20)

Education for a Better World 

We connect and engage with Winnipeg and other Manitoba communities as places of learning and service. We firmly believe that not all lessons are or should be taught in the classroom. Our neighborhoods are more than just great places for recreational, shopping and dining experiences. They are our classrooms – places for learning, volunteering and service. Through service learning, you will explore how real-life situations actually relate to what’s being discussed and taught to you in class. And what better way to understand and learn than through hands-on experience? Your education at Booth University College will help you build a better world!

Educate your heart as you build your resume 

The hands-on learning you will achieve through service learning, practicums, and research will provide you with valuable work and life experience.

Last year, our students provided nearly 35,000 hours of service to the community. Our students are changing the world!

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