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The Agapé Center for Service and Learning


What is Service-Learning?

Service-Learning provides a way to integrate service and learning within academic programming.  At Messiah College, students have the opportunity to engage in both curricular service-learning coursework or co-curricular service-learning. These opportunities are defined as:


Curricular Service-Learning
Service-Learning is a type of curriculum that intentionally integrates academic learning with community service in a credit-bearing academic course. Students participate in an authentic service activity which meets needs identified by the community (designed within the framework of a mutually beneficial relationship) and then they critically reflect on that activity. Thus, students gain a deep understanding of course content, a commitment to socially responsible citizenship, and develop skills and understanding needed to contribute to civic well-being. 


Co-Curricular Service-Learning

Co-curricular service-learning or Learning-Guided Community Service is a noncredit-bearing activity where students, educators, and staff volunteer in a service which meets community needs. Although the primary emphasis is on service, Learning-Guided Community Service differs from “community service” in that it recognizes that much learning can occur for those serving when proper training and reflection is incorporated. Intentionality in purpose, placement, effective service outcomes, and applied holistic learning outcomes in relationship with the community partner remain a priority.

Service-Learning and Campus Compact

Service-Learning is a rapidly expanding movement within American higher education. Campus Compact, the fastest growing national network of colleges and universities committed to service-learning, began only 20 years ago. It currently boasts over 1,000 members representing five million students. As an organization, Campus Compact is committed to refining service-learning pedagogy, as well as employing numerous networks to strengthen service-learning theory and practice.

Messiah College enjoys a unique relationship with Campus Compact. The headquarters of Pennsylvania Campus Compact are located on our own Grantham campus. Dr. Charlene Gray, Executive Director of PA Campus Compact, served on the Agape Center Search Committee, taught an FYS course for Messiah, and was featured as a keynote speaker at Messiah’s 2006 National Service-Learning Conference. In addition, former President Dr. Rodney Sawatsky served on the Pennsylvania Campus Compact Board during his tenure at Messiah. Currently, President Kim Phipps is also serving on the board to provide ongoing support for state service-learning initiatives.