The Center for Community Organizations

Center for Service Learning and Community-Based Research

What can service learning and community-based undergraduate research do for your organization?

Simply, you can tap into the enthusiasm, energy, and intellect of Penn State Berks undergraduates who are interested in working with you to fill organizational needs, including but not limited to research activities. Working closely with Berks faculty members, you can help design and supervise service and research projects on issues that are of importance to your goals and projects in the community.

students doing service at Nicholas Stolzfus HomesteadBecause these projects are directly linked with students' courses, students contribute both knowledge and research capabilities that enable them to be helpful in ways that community service alone does not permit.

Students and faculty members benefit through their partnership with you, your practical expertise and knowledge of the community, and the opportunities for service learning you can help provide. You benefit by having students work with you to help address community needs.

Pictured to the left: Students and community members work to construct the Heritage Room at the Nicholas Stoltzfus Homestead. Below: Students and project partners on the Berks County Amish-Mennonite Heritage Tour.

Community organizations that have used students involved in service learning and community-based undergraduate research report benefits including:

  • gathering much-needed data and information about their clientele, the effectiveness of their programs, the students and community partnersdemographics of the community, etc.; 
  • supplementing their own limited resources to accomplish such evaluation and planning goals;
  • establishing closer ties to Penn State Berks - its students who often spend many hours volunteering in the community, and its faculty members with research interests that match their own goals;
  • taking advantage of the creativity, intelligence, and talents of Penn State Berks students; and
  • modeling, for students, the values of community commitment and leadership that will influence their career choices.

The Center is very conscious of the fact that the community-university partnership must be mutually beneficial to work at all. We believe our program, and the close working relationship we encourage between faculty members teaching courses and leaders of community organizations, can accomplish that goal. 

What has it done for others?

"My experience with the team of staff and students in The Center at Penn State Berks was wonderful! The students were energetic and seemed genuinely excited about getting involved in a community project. Their time was well spent, as far as Friend, Inc. is concerned; they contributed a tremendous amount of assistance to our organization. I highly recommend any non-profit working with this group. Service learning provides immeasurable benefits for all involved." Erica Hesselson, former Executive Director


For more information, e-mail Dr. Laurie Grobman ([email protected]) or call 610-396-6141.