Service-Learning and Community Engagement

The Office of Service-Learning and Community Engagement is a forum that cultivates strong reciprocal relationships between USC Upstate faculty, students and community organizations. For faculty, the OSLCE builds individualized connections to viable community partners for service-learning course placements and offers learning opportunities in course development and implementation. For community partners, the OSLCE recruits and prepares students to participate in meaningful service-oriented activities. For students, the OSLCE provides information about service-learning courses and creates opportunities to engage the community through service-based organizations such as IMPACT and Alternative Break. 

Service-Learning

Service-learning at USC Upstate is defined as a method of teaching and learning that integrates student participation in organized service activities into credit-bearing courses. By collaboratively addressing identified community needs with a community partner, the service experience enhances student learning by providing an opportunity to observe, test and apply discipline-based theories, concepts and skills. The academic context enriches the service experience by raising questions about real world issues and by providing a forum to reflect upon them. Further, service-learning is a mechanism to achieve a broader appreciation of the discipline, to sharpen problem solving skills and to develop an enhanced sense of civic responsibility (Approved by Faculty Senate, 02/20/2015).

Community Engagement

Community Engagement is described as the collaborative relationship between institutions of higher education and their broader communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources, in a context of partnership and reciprocity.

The University's metropolitan mission rests upon a foundation of partnerships with the education, corporate, and service organizations of the Upstate, through which our students gain extensive experiential learning opportunities. 

Opportunities to learn and serve together reflect the University's aim to prepare its students to participate as responsible citizens in a diverse, global and knowledge-based society, to pursue excellence in their chosen careers and to continue learning throughout life.

The University recognizes that promoting civic engagement by its faculty, staff, and students strengthens the fabric of the community we serve, while enriching faculty scholarship and the student learning experience beyond the classroom. We welcome you to explore service-learning and community engagement at USC Upstate.

OSLCE News

Service-Learning students are improving the USC Upstate Community and the greater Upstate region one class at a time. Through hands-on learning opportunities, these students are working beyond the four walls of their classrooms and embracing opportunities to learn and work at the same time. From translating important information into Spanish for nonprofit organizations to creating community programs for the Spartanburg Art Museum, USC Upstate students are striving to make a difference with their classwork. 

Community Partners List

A community partner is a nonprofit, government agency, school district or potentially a for-profit company whose mission is to meet identified community needs. Community partners collaborate with students, faculty and staff to provide one-time or continual volunteer opportunities; as well as serve as co-educators by working directly with faculty members to provide high quality service-learning opportunities for USC Upstate students on a semester basis. 

Resources for students or a faculty looking for volunteer locations or service-learning partners

Volunteer Opportunities

Please visit the Service-Learning and Volunteerism portal within The Agora for a current list of volunteer opportunities. For instructions on how to access The Agora, please visit the webpage.

Are you a community partner looking to engage students in volunteer or service-learning projects?

 Please contact the Office of Service-Learning and Community Engagement at oslce@uscupstate.edu or call us at 864-503-5433.

Other Programs

The Office of Service-Learning and Community Engagement (OSLCE) offers many different programs in addition to the service-learning and volunteer opportunities.

AmeriCorps VISTA Program
Through South Carolina Campus Compact, USC Upstate hosts  one-two AmeriCorps VISTAs each year. The VISTA serves as a resource for students, faculty and staff and educates the campus population on issues surrounding hunger, homelessness and poverty in the community. To find out more about AmeriCorps VISTA, please visit the Corporation for National and Community Service.  

Board Training
In collaboration with the United Way of the Piedmont, OSLCE provides board trainings several times throughout the academic year for faculty, staff and students interested in serving on a board for a community partner. These trainings last for two hours and are typically hosted on a Friday afternoon.

60 Seconds of Service  
Do you have 60 seconds to make a difference? Join the OSLCE and the AmeriCorps VISTAs as we offer monthly service projects that take only 60 seconds to complete. From making Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches for the Spartanburg Soup Kitchen to blessing bags for the homeless, there is something for everyone!

College Town Community Engagement  
As part of the College Town Initiative in Spartanburg, USC Upstate works with the seven other colleges and universities to provide service opportunities for college students to give back to the community.