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Service-Learning and Civic Engagement

Serve. Share. Learn. Opportunities in and out of the classroom for you to make a difference.
Students working on a Manna Food Center project

MC’s Service-Learning Program engages students, faculty, and community organizations in meaningful, collaborative, and mutually beneficial projects. Students may serve as part of their academic coursework or as a co-curricular activity.

Through service learning, MC students meet new people, learn new skills, and make a difference for a day, a week, or a semester.

We support MC’s goal to foster community building, civic responsibility, and intercultural understanding by working to enrich the life of the community, serve as a place for neutral public dialog, and advance social justice.

Find a Service-Learning Project

Explore our collegewide programs below, and visit the Montgomery College GivePulse pagenew window for more opportunities. View this list of Student Volunteer Opportunities for the 2021-2022 Academic Year (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.) , which is updated periodically. Or visit the Montgomery County Volunteer Centernew window for county-wide opportunities.

Learn and serve with local organizations for a day with other MC students. Past Spirit of Service Days have included Good Deeds Day, MLK Day of Service, Accenture Day of Service, annual Earth Day clean-ups, and Homeless Resource Day. 

Whether you're a regular volunteer, new to community service, or part of a club that wants to plan a day of service, we hope you'll join our network and spread the spirit of service everywhere. Join the MC Serves team on GivePulse to get involved. 

More than 35 percent of public school students are eligible for free or reduced meals during the school week. Smart Sacks bridge the gap between Friday and Monday, providing nutritious foods for children and their families who might not have another meal until after the weekend.

Montgomery College's Offices of Student Life and Service-Learning Program currently support the following schools:

  • Germantown: Fox Chapel Elementary School
  • Rockville: Beal Elementary School
  • Takoma Park/Silver Spring: Broad Acres Elementary School 

Through Manna Food, Montgomery College students on all three campuses help over a hundred children every week.

Manna Food Smart Sacks packing will resume when in-person student activities resume. 

Explore careers in various fields, learn new skills, meet professionals, and make a difference through fun, hands-on volunteer projects.

Previous Career Pathways in Service Days have included Mental Health First Aid Certifications, an Environmental Science Field Day with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and Opioid & Substance Abuse Training with the Montgomery County Health and Human Services.

Applications for these unique service days will be shared via Student Life social media and text as they become available.

Creative Connections is a program that pairs elders and MC student volunteers in collaborative, art-making programs. Programs include the virtual Illustrating Elders Stories and the award-winning Opening Minds through Art (OMA), which enables people with memory loss or dementia to assume new roles as artists and teachers and leave a legacy of beautiful artwork.

MC volunteers receive training, then volunteer for a semester virtually or in person at the Charles E. Smith Life Communities, a local senior community. Applications are open at the beginning of each Fall, Spring, and Summer I, and are shared via Student Life social media, text and GivePulse.

Want to meet new people? Get away for a while? Travel to new places? Make a difference? Join other MC students on a week or weekend packed with community service, meaningful reflections, and fun activities.

Alternative Break service trips help students learn about social issues through direct service, issue education, and reflection. Students explore critical community issues and how they can make a difference in the local or global community.

Applications will be shared via Student Life social media and text as they become available.

Impact MC (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.) is a service-learning leadership development program designed to help students become change agents at MC and in our surrounding communities. In this year-long leadership development program, students work in teams to engage other MC students in service, awareness, and advocacy projects related to the UN’s Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Applications are available in the summer through early fall for each year's cohort. 

Interested? Send us your informationnew window and we’ll send you the application next program year.

Apply Now

Volunteer, Track Your Hours, and Earn Awards

GivePulse is a nationwide platform that helps you find volunteer opportunities and share your service. Visit Montgomery College's GivePulse pagenew window to register for MC-specific opportunities, share your service hours, and earn MC service awards. 

Visit MC's GivePulse page new windowto find MC-specific opportunities and events. You may log in to GivePulse using your MyMC username and password. First-time users will need to click "Sign Up" and select "Log in via your College." 

Click on the Events, Calendar, and Subgroups to explore available opportunities. 

Student clubs and organizations: To create your own events, you have to be an administrator of a subgroup. Request your own subgroupnew window.  

Already volunteering? Use the “Add Impact” button to share your hours, rate projects, and write reflections.

  1. Go to the MC GivePulse page
  2. Log in using your MyMC credentials
  3. Select the green "Add Impact" button
  4. Select the organization with which you served (e.g., Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, etc.)
  5. Enter the name and email address of the person who supervised your service
  6. Enter the date or time span during which you served
  7. Enter your total hours served
  8. Add a description and reflection about what you did
  9. Check the boxes to share with groups that need to see your hours (e.g., a service-learning class or student club)
What to Record

Record Your Hours Spent:

  • Performing any activity assigned to you by your  community partner
  • Creating products as directed by a community partner, e.g. grants, brochures, website
  • Performing any activity directly related to the outcome of your service project, like making flyers for a fundraiser you are helping to plan
  • Planning, researching, or preparing for activities, when necessary to complete assigned tasks or as directed by an community partner
  • Undergoing training or orientation activities, when hosted by a community partner or related organization (e.g., CPR training by the Red Cross for an assisted living center)
  • Planning projects with a community partner by remote or in-person meetings

Do NOT Record Hours Spent:

  • Traveling to/from a service site, unless with clients or the organization as part of a related activity, e.g. a tour that is part of an orientation, training meant to prepare you to do the service task, supervising school children on a bus to a service site
  • Sleeping, i.e. when staying overnight at a service site
  • Performing work for a political candidate or political party
  • Proselytizing for a particular religion
  • Eating, unless as part of an assigned activity, e.g. at a meeting or event
  • Contacting community organizations when arranging an initial partnership
  • Research done on your own to enhance your knowledge or understanding of the partner
    Reflection activities, assigned or otherwise, e.g. journaling, making class presentations, writing class research papers  

Service awards are given annually for hours served between May 1 and April 30. Share your service in GivePulse to be considered for the following MC Service Awards: 

  • Spirit of Service Certificate (20-99 hours)
  • MC Spirit of Service Medallion (100+ hours)
  • If eligible, the U.S. President's Volunteer Service Award (100+ hours)

Applications for the President's Volunteer Service Award may be submitted year round. Learn more about PVSA and apply window


Resources for Faculty

The Service-Learning program can help you integrate academic service-learning projects into your courses.

Academic Service-learning is:

  • A teaching method through which students apply their academic learning to address community needs through service. Learning takes place when students reflect on their service experience and connect their service to their coursework.
  • A high impact approach linked to higher GPAs, increased student retention, and enhanced civic engagement.
  • A form of active learning that values critical thinking and problem solving.
  • A great hands-on experience for students in any discipline.
  • Service-learning may be conducted as a full class project, in groups or independently. Most importantly, students should be able to connect their learning to the course objectives.
Support Available for Academic Service-Learning

Before the Semester:

  • Training for faculty and support staff.
  • Curriculum design or re-design to incorporate service-learning.
  • Assignment design or re-design to incorporate service-learning.
  • Providing reflection resources​.
  • Connecting to community partners​.
  • Limited financial and logistical support​.
  • Connecting a class to an existing day of service or, in some cases, coordinating a day of service.

During and After the Semester:

  • Support faculty facilitators​.
  • As available, service-learning coordinators attend class to support service-learning projects or share expertise.
  • Evaluate select projects​.
  • Recognize and share exemplar projects​.
  • Note: Given the service-learning staffing limitations and research about impactful service-learning , very limited support is available for connecting students to individual academic service projects or verifying academic service hours in GivePulse. Please review the Process to Access Service-Learning Support and speak to a service-learning coordinator before assigning individual service placements.

To get started, submit a request for supportnew window

View the Process to Access Service-Learning Supportnew window.

Submit an updated Project Plannew window at the start of each semester. Submission of this plan is necessary for your class to be updated in GivePulse and for you to be considered for independent evaluation.

View this list of Academic Service-Learning Opportunities for Classes or Groups (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.) , which is updated periodically.

Resources for Community Organizations

Information for nonprofits, schools, and government agencies interested in partnering with the College.

Are you a nonprofit, school, or government agency interested in partnering with the College? Do you have an established volunteer program or need support for a particular project? We can help you connect with service-learning courses, student clubs and organizations, and independent student volunteers. 

We also offer opportunities to recruit volunteers at networking events and our fall and spring semester Volunteer Fairs. 

Contact us to learn more about working with student volunteers and faculty.