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Service learning is an activity in which a volunteer provides his or her time to serve something or someone in their community. Also, in order for it to be considered service learning the volunteer must learn something from their activity whether it is a skill acquired or another form of benefit received. (Moore, Cassie) Personally, I believe service learning should be mandatory in all colleges across the nation. Providing community service in college has many positive impacts on a studentââ‚¬â„¢s future some of which include introducing a strong work ethic, as well as making the student more active in their community. Finally, enforcing experiential learning creates a safer environment around the college for the students.
The main reason that most students are at college is to gain knowledge and promote their future, unfortunately there are other students whose reasoning for attending college is more of a joyride/partying experience. This is one of the main reasons why service learning should be mandatory for college students. The act of venturing out into the community and providing help to another person or organization will begin to teach students about managing their time more effectively, and will help prepare them for a job. Managing time effectively is a major problem in college because some students procrastinate and this leads towards low grades and skipped classes. However, if experiential learning was mandatory in college then students would be forced to prepare a strict schedule around their required activities, and they would have to decide what activities that are more recreational and un-required in their routine. This scheduled system would create more dedicated students and would therefore lead to increased grades at the college, as well as more organized students. College students don't realize how much free time they have, because most of it is wasted on leisure activities and sleep. College classes are usually not taken on every day of the week so most students do have time that they could dedicate towards helping their community either on or off campus. Also, recognizing requirements is another skill learned from community involvement as it influences students to start getting involved in other activities to be able to distinguish themselves when searching for a job. Being able to say that you performed much more community service while in college will boost as students chances at receiving a highly desired job. According to the Delaware Valley College of Science and Agriculture's employment program students who volunteer, "benefit by enjoying a high level of post graduation success, increased career satisfaction and consistency, higher salaries, and increased success in being accepted to and pursuing graduate and professional programs of study." The study later goes onto say that employers can be ensured that they are hiring dedicated, dependable, and skilled workers. (Ellis, Jr., Michael) All of these attributes are acquired from the student being active in a service learning atmosphere.
Along with producing a very strong work ethic in college students, service learning also will make a student more involved in their community. By providing a service the student is forced to become active in their community and become a part of activities which they may have never been involved with previously. Being involved in a students community allows students to help the area around them, but also personally benefit by learning information. This is explained in a study showing that mentors not only just teach information but they also learn from the people that are being taught. (Banks) Being active is important for some students because they begin to think that when they don't have class that they can stay at home watching television all day. However, little do students know that most learning in college is done outside of the classroom and that is where service learning can come into the picture. If colleges enforced service learning an abundance more of information could be acquired by the student rather than just learning what is required to pass a test. This could include trades/skills that an activity could teach them which would benefit them in the future. For example, an active student versus inactive student would differentiate in the manner of the non active student knowing book information while the active student may know hands on how to perform a task. This is very helpful for graduating college students because the workforce is looking for people who know what they're doing and are good at it rather than know about it. Also, most colleges are taking this into consideration because they believe that students should offer their service in times of turmoil. They believe that college students are more willing to offer their time during a crisis, and that this should be changed towards mandatory experiential learning on a regular basis. (Strout, Erin)
Another benefit of mandatory service learning in college would be a safer environment around the college campus for students. By forcing students to become involved in activities around their community they learn about their surroundings and possible dangerous settings that may near their housing area. All service learning projects are different and if a student feels uncomfortable they begin to realize how different their life may be than someone else's. This usually causes a student to mature to another level and make them respect the environment around them more than they did previously. This could range from driving more reserved to limiting litter. For example if picking up litter is a project chosen by a student they may be influenced to litter less due to the recognition of the work required to clean up the trash. In turn, this will create more sanitary surroundings at college campuses.
In conclusion, I strongly believe that experiential learning should be required for all college students. There are multiple positive benefits towards making students volunteer in their community, including a safer and more mature environment at the campus. Also, a student will be forced to participate in the community more frequently as well as create a strong work ethic which will help students find a lifelong career. The benefits of forcing a student to participate in service learning greatly outweigh those in opposition, and therefore I strongly believe that every college student must participate in service learning.