Frequently Asked Questions

Often referred to as service-learning, community-based learning is defined by Barbara Jacoby and Elizabeth Hollander, as follows:

(Community-based) learning is experiential education in which students engage in activities that address human and community needs together with structured opportunities intentionally designed to promote student learning and development. Reflection and reciprocity are key concepts of (community-based) learning .

- From: Barbara Jacoby, "Service-Learning in Today's Higher Education," in Jacoby (ed) Service-Learning in Higher Education (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1996), pg. 5.

The engaged campus is not just located within a community, it is intimately connected to the public purposes and aspirations of community life itself. The engaged campus is unable to separate its unique responsibility for the development of knowledge from the role of knowledge in a democratic society to form the basis for social progress and human equality.

- From: Elizabeth Hollander, "Picturing the Engaged Campus," Campus Compact, in Service-Learning: Involving Students in Civic Engagement and Responsibility, Annual Meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, 1/27/99

These quotes introduce the report and recommendations of the Disappearing Task Force on Community-Based Learning. This essential document details the history of community-based learning at Evergreen, and the process and findings of community consultation that produced recommendations leading ultimately to the establishment of the Center for Community-Based Learning and Action (CCBLA).


Students in Local Knowledge Lin Nelson and Anne Fischel's program worked with homeless youth to create a documentary on sexual abuse and victimization among the homeless. This project was the core of a strategy of involving homeless youth in reducing sexual victimization on the street.

Other students in the program organized the Gleaners' Coalition, which gathered left-over food from local farms and distributed the produce to food banks and organizations working with low income people in Olympia .

Students in Sonya Weidenhaupt and Cynthia Kennedy's program "Waste and Want" worked with a variety of projects, including the Thurston County Food Bank, the Olympia Greenway Project, and Providence Missions International to explore the connection between consumption, waste and poverty - while providing important community service.


Community-based learning and an Evergreen education

The five foci of an Evergreen education

  • Interdisciplinary Learning
  • Learning Across Significant Differences
  • Personal engagement with Learning
  • Linking Theory with Practice
  • Collaborative Learning

Evergreen faculty and students have integrated community-based learning and other forms of community service into Evergreen's academic life since the first year of classes.

Community-based learning and Internships

At Evergreen there is a distinction between community-based learning and internships.

Community-based learning includes one-time or shorter-term projects that expose students to community-based issues and work. Examples include academic program-related community service or volunteering by students.

Community-based work can also include longer-term research or advocacy and community-development projects with community issues that are not tied to a particular organization's mission or ongoing work. Examples include research on a community issue, media work, other community arts, or other issue-oriented community organizing. At Evergreen, many faculty and students learn and use theories and practices of participatory research strategies in their individual and group projects.

Internships generally involve work by a student one-on-one over a longer-period, like a full quarter, that supports the mission or work of a community-based organization or business and gives the students hands-on experience skills.

Generally, if the work is sponsored and supervised by a community organization, takes place 10 hours or more a week over a full quarter, and is linked to academic learning outcomes, it's an internship. The intership is based on a contract between the student, community partner, faculty and the intership office.

Community Engagement

Contact CCBLA Resource Room for more Information:
Seminar 2 E2125