Assumption Students Impact Local Communities Through Community Service-Learning Program  

Mar 08, 2024

What makes a program like Community Service Learning (CSL) so crucial? According to Mike Land, Associate professor of English and Director of the Community Service-Learning Program, it is being able to “use our skills to serve the community.”  

The CSL program gives students a unique opportunity to take courses in a wide range of fields that they may be interested in pursuing beyond their education. These courses are held both on and off campus, allowing students to make important contributions to the Worcester community while also giving them real world experiences that they will remember well after they graduate.  

“What service learning is about is testing what we are taught in the classroom in a real-world scenario,” said Land. “Students get to have their own direct experience in whatever the subject area is.”  

CSL also gives students the opportunity to discover if the subject they are contributing service for is something they want to pursue long-term. Land used the example of a student volunteering for a class and realizing that this work may be something they want to do with their future career and can use the service as volunteer experience.   

Currently, there are about 15 different departments with CSL courses being offered; which courses students take can correspond with their major or personal interests.  

“We have worked a lot with Habitat for Humanity, we work a lot with the immigrant community, the Boys and Girls club, family services, and an assortment of other programs,” said Land.  

One of the current CSL courses offered during this semester is for Senior Communication and Media Majors.  In this capstone course, students are assigned a semester-long project to create and edit their own 3-episode podcast that will eventually be published to WCUW, a local nonprofit radio station licensed in Worcester.  

Land explained that students may be going to a site up to ten times over a semester to volunteer for an organization. Alongside the volunteer work, students may also be working in the classroom on a project that they are doing to help the agency based on their needs.   

With CSL courses, students must learn to grow more independent; whether that is getting to and from the site on their own or being responsible and doing their job well. Land highlighted that with these classes you don’t always have a professor looking over your shoulder.  

“Students have written at the end of their semester that once they got started, the time they spent with kids in the after-school program was some of the best times of their week,” said Land. The one-on-one interactions bring a positive light to both the kids in the program and the students working with the kids.  

CSL classes also give students “real clients,” in a sense, which is a useful tool to get real world experience in fields of interest. For example, Land said that accounting students have sometimes done taxes for low-income households in the Worcester community.  This gives students planning on pursuing accounting in the future the opportunity to work with real clients in real time and impact their community in a positive way.  

“This is about a sense of partnership between nonprofits and students on campus,” said Land.  

If you have any questions about CSL or if you are interested in learning more about it or pursuing a class, you can contact the head of the department, Mike Land, at