What is Service-Learning?
Students' Frequently Asked Questions
Your service should be completed with a nonprofit, educational, social services, or governmental organization during the course of the semester. The SCCESL has partners across the state of New Jersey, but if we do not have a site in your region of interest, we will work to find you an appropriate site in that area. You may also suggest specific organizations with whom you are already affiliated.
One of the goals of Service-Learning is to open up new learning and volunteering opportunities to students, so we encourage students to think about working with new organizations whenever possible. However, you may request permission to serve in a place with which you are already affiliated, assuming that you will be able to link your service with your academic work in an appropriate way.
The SCCESL typically does not allow students to get paid for their S-L hours. However, in cases where Service-Learning is required and you have extreme scheduling constraints, you may complete your project with your place of employment only after gaining your professor's approval.
Best Practice says to email and call your community partner at the same time. Everyone has a different communication style and preference - some community partners' sole means of communication is phone, others' email.
It is generally considered unprofessional to text your community partner unless they have specifically told you to do so.
It is always polite to introduce yourself, reference you are a Service-Learning Student from Stockton University and that you are interested in volunteering with their organization.
Using the correct language and verbiage is important. You should refrain from the following statement: "Ummm, Hi...I'm Lina...and I have to do community service...". This statement it not only inaccurate, but it sounds unprofessional. Instead try: "Hello, I'm Lina, from Stockton. I have a Service-Learning class project this semester, and I am interested in volunteering with your organization..."
Remember that your site supervisor is probably very busy – it may take a little time for them to get back to you. If you are unable to get in touch with the supervisor the first time you call, leave a message and allow 2-3 full days for them to return the call. If you get no response, call again. Keep track of the dates and times you have made phone calls to the site. If you have not heard from your supervisor within one week of making the first call, please contact the Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning and we will do everything we can to help you.
You may need to sign an Affiliation Agreement for your service. The Affiliation Agreement is a way for all parties involved in the S-L process to clarify what they expect to get from the experience. It allows both you and your site to state your intended goals and it permits your professor and university to see how your service will connect with your academic work.
The S-L hours do not include transportation time to and from the site. However, if you are engaged in an S-L project that requires you to drive during the time you are volunteering (for example, transporting goods from one place to another for a food bank), those hours will count.
We understand that not all of our S-L students have transportation, and for those folks, we reserve a very limited number of sites that are either on-campus or very close to campus. However, we encourage students without transportation to work in a pair or small group with other students who may be able to share the responsibility for transportation.
It is normal to feel out of place or slightly uncomfortable when you first begin your S-L project. In most cases, give it a couple of weeks and you will most likely fall into a comfort zone with your site. If, however, you feel physically or emotionally unsafe at your site and are extremely uncomfortable, please let the SCCESL office, your professor, and your site supervisor know. If you are in a challenging site, we can move you somewhere else.