Service-Learning Success Stories

This page contains a great number of inspiring success stories about the various stakeholders’ experiences with Service-Learning. Each consortium partner has contributed and created stories for you. They range from stories of student experiences with digitally enhanced service learning, to the experience of a rural NGO. Feel free to contact us if you want to know more about specific stories, our partners are very open to talking to you.

Germany: Hochschulnetzwerk Bildung durch Verantwortung E.V.
Example about student digital empowerment

In the vlog, Michel Böhm presents the work of the VDSI with a reference to digital empowerment. In particular, he highlights the regular use of video conferences for coordination purposes in the context of service learning. Even after the end of the pandemic, the VDSI wants to stick to hybrid formats.

Officially founded in 2014, VDSI now represents over 100,000 students at 83 locations across Germany in almost 350 local groups. The VDSI offers student initiatives an exchange platform for “best practice”. However, another central task of the VDSI is also to represent the interests of student initiatives vis-à-vis universities and politics. 

Croatia: University of Zagreb
Examples about community members and organizations

Graduate students of information sciences from the University of Zagreb (Croatia) had the opportunity to apply academic knowledge and skills to meet the real needs of the rural and remote community on the island of Korčula and Pelješac through the experience of service learning. The rural community partner was LAG5, an NGO founded with the purpose to implement the LEADER approach in south Croatia. 

The needs of the rural beneficiaries (i.e. local population who represent the participants with fewer opportunities) defined as: digital skills in rural tourism – adult education (web advertising and web development) and robotics for primary school children were met by university students.  The number of school children who participated in 4 workshops on robotics was 36, while the number of adults who participated in workshops on web advertising and web development was 10. 

In the course Urban and Rural Service-Learning, 13 graduate students of information sciences from the University of Zagreb (Croatia) had the opportunity to apply academic knowledge and skills to meet the real needs of the rural community on the island of Korčula and Pelješac through the experience of service learning.

The rural community partner was LAG5, an NGO founded with the purpose to implement the LEADER approach in south Croatia. 

Students have devised solutions that meet the above listed needs selected by a rural community, implemented them in the rural community on the island of Korcula and Peljesac, supplemented them with explanations and comments from rural partners and, as a result, compiled this manual with examples that are applicable to meet similar rural needs in other EU countries: Read More 

Netherlands: Rotterdam School of Management (Erasmus University)
Example about student experience with Service-Learning

Sofie Finnema, student at Erasmus University, was part of the minor Learning By Doing, where she experienced service learning first hand in a period where the student experience was determined by Covid. One group member who could not come to Rotterdam, was left with a very different experience than the rest of the group. Because of her digital only experience, she found it difficult to understand the community organization’s liaison and to personalize and contextualize her advice to the non-profit they were working with.

Romania: University Politehnica of Bucharest

Florența DOGARU, a master’s student of the University POLITEHNICA of Bucharest and a teacher at the Ion Iorgulescu secondary school in Argeș county, Romania, designed the project „Viitor Sustenabil” – VIS (en. Sustainable Future; the acronym of the project means DREAM in English) aiming to mitigate the hindrances to effectively addressing green competences through advocacy service-learning.

Florenta and her students ‘taught’ objects and materials that were apparently no longer useful to dream of a new future. In Technology Education and Practical Applications classes, students made products from materials they have in their households that are no longer useful, creating objects with a new utility. The learning experiences were enhanced by using photovoice as a method to stimulate students’ reflection on the learning process and products, i.e. a method of dissemination and advocacy. Photos of the products made and their stories were disseminated on the project’s Instagram account. ipsum dolor sit amet, at mei dolore tritani repudiandae. In his nemore temporibus consequuntur, vim ad prima vivendum consetetur. Viderer feugiat at pro, mea aperiam

Florina and Olimpiu are master’s students at the University POLITEHNICA of Bucharest. Their service-learning project blended direct and indirect services aiming to empower women in a rural area in Călărași County. Traditionally, especially in rural areas, women have roles related to work in households, but are very little involved in community life. The service-learning project provided training and support activities designed to stimulate women’s participation in community life.

Belgium: Universitair Centrum Sint Ignatius Antwerpen
Examples about student needs, and the innovative effects and impact for both students and faculty

The student explains that the digital environment is often very distracting. For him, digital empowerment is also learning to purposefully and efficiently making use of the digital environment, and to learn not getting distracted by digital applications during school work.

The student explains that within HEI’s, digital tools are often offered by the teacher with the student that has to adapt to it and has to learn how to use it. The student believes that it can be very empowering if, within service-learning project, students themselves have the opportunity to search for digital tools that fit the needs of their target group.

In this fragment, a teaching supporter tells us that digital empowerment eminently is a topic that shows how service-learning projects can strive for horizontal power relationships. Because everyone feels discomfort and uncertainty when navigating within the digital world, this vulnerability gives us the opportunity to relate to the ‘vulnerable other’, to our clients ‘at risk’.

Slovakia: Matej Bel University
Example about student innovative effects

Ears to the Soul service-learning program was created in response to the pandemic situation. Its main goal was to help overcome people’s feelings of loneliness by creating student-client contacts and providing regular telephone support. The program developed the Faculty of Education at Matej Bel University and the regional volunteer center in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia. The program took the form of “one-on-one.” Student-lonely person pairs were created, guaranteeing an individual approach, better mutual knowledge, and consideration of the person in need. The students regularly telephoned a specific person and participated in weekly refection meetings and supervisions. The program was delivered fully online and continues after the pandemic.

Italy: Università di Roma LUMSA
Examples about student innovation, impact and needs

Project 1: ‘Playing with Giuly’
The project, implemented 100% online, saw an education student collect and create several educational play activities for children from 0 to 3 years old and then disseminate them via social media, helping families to interact constructively with their children during the critical time of lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Project 2: “HOPE” ( here the Italian video)
This project saw a group of human sciences students (education and psychology) tutoring unaccompanied foreign minors in order to help them get familiar with their new context of life and support them in the process of inclusion, as part of a broader vocational-training program by the ELIS Association.

Austria: Padägogische Hochschule Wien
Example about innovation for HEIs and the community

The example shows an excerpt of a discussion with a student about physical and digital space and the the positive effects of digital space for inclusion. The common question is who can participate in the space and which parts are shared. 

For physical space, there are visible appropriations that we are familiar with, be it through graffiti or sculptures or the like. But the question of the shared digital space is posed and located.