Service Learning and Community Engagement

Michigan State University has a long history of service learning and community engagement in alignment with our land grant mission.

If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time; but if you are here because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.

Australian Indigenous Activist

What is service learning?

Service learning is the process by which students engage in community based projects while simultaneously being challenged in the classroom in an effort to prepare them to be agents of social change during their academic study and afterwards. It is a two way street between service and learning with the desired goal of changing the way students interact with their communities of choice.


What is the difference between service learning and an internship?

  • Internships - focus on professional development and self-improvement
  • Service learning - focus on improving the community


Community Focus:

Regardless of how students personally define ‘community’, whether on campus, in East Lansing, your religious group, or beyond- we are here to help. The College of Social Science prioritizes placing students in the best possible position to build capacity and have a lasting impact for their community of choice.


College of Social Science opportunities to engage in service learning:

  • SSC 199: Act Locally, Think Globally
  • PLS 494: Detroit InnovateGov

The average odds of college graduation increase by 22 percentage points among students involved in community service to fulfill class requirements (Center for Info. & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement)


For more information, contact:

Office for Experiential Learning
College of Social Science
Berkey Hall - 221
Phone: 517-432-4541