Community Service Leadership Project Update
An update on the Community Service Leadership (CSL) project
Royal Roads University (RRU) has always been a place where academic learning meets real life. As a special-purpose university, applied knowledge is integrated into all programs so that curriculum is solution oriented and real-world focused. Grounded in this idea of experiential learning, the Community Service Leadership (CSL) project was developed as a way of further supporting students with purposeful community engagement. By establishing partnerships with community-based, not-for profit organizations, we’ve worked to create low barrier volunteer opportunities that are both personally meaningful to students and contribute value to the community. The aim is to provide opportunities that are easily accessible to students with diverse skill sets and don’t require background checks or extensive time commitments, unlike many other volunteer commitments. CSL events are specifically tailored to student interests and often involve opportunities to participate in enjoyable activities such as baking cookies or attending a hockey game. In this way, the CSL project proves that contributing in a meaningful way doesn’t need to feel like work – it can be fun!
The CSL project is open to all students and has been quickly gaining popularity as word spreads across campus. In the first six months since its inception, students across nine different undergraduate and graduate program areas have participated in community service activities. To date, we have built meaningful partnerships with 16 different community organizations including: BC Children’s Hospital, Victoria Arts Council, Canadian Cancer Society, Burnside Gorge Community Association and Parks Canada. One of our close partnerships is Pacifica Housing, a charity that provides services for those dealing with the effects of homelessness, mental health or addiction. Every month RRU students bake cookies and other goodies alongside residents at one of their supportive housing facilities. These baking events offer a valuable opportunity for students to learn about critical social issues while residents feel valued and cared for.
Reflection is a key element of the CSL project, allowing students to look back on, think critically about, and learn from their service experiences. Students have remarked on their growth in confidence as a result of confronting new situations, stepping out of their comfort zones and exercising their personal problem solving skills. Many participants have stated that their CSL experiences have reinforced or clarified the value of teamwork. Student reflections highlight that many have gained a broader perspective of other’s experiences, enhanced their sense of community and enriched group leadership and communication skills.
Through the Community Service Leadership project I learned…
“…the value of teamwork”
“…I do a great job when I step out of my comfort zone”
“…a new skill - how to bake! Met great people and worked as part of an amazing team”
“…that serving others makes me happy”