Learning doesn't stop outside the walls of the classrooms. Through academic service-learning and community service opportunities, University of Minnesota Crookston students are able to engage in experiences that both develop their civic awareness and benefit the community at the same time.
The University of Minnesota Crookston has a history of community engagement that began long before the office by that name was established. Faculty realized early on that many of the courses taught at UMC were best taught beyond the doors of the classrooms. In 1996, the Office of Service-Learning was established and housed under Student Activities. In addition to coordinating the service-learning program, this office also coordinated community service projects and America Reads. In 2011 we changed our name to the Office of Community Engagement to better describe our goals and more accurately define our activities. We work directly with local agencies, organizations, and individuals to address community needs. We also work across departments to access the classes, clubs, and individuals to help get the projects completed. Our goal is to support faculty, students, and the community in mutually beneficial partnerships that provide meaningful service. Through these experiences, we hope students become more self-aware, discover what they are truly passionate about, and feel a sense of civic responsibility. In the process, we hope that coursework makes a little more sense and their service allows them to pose a few more questions. Currently, students complete approximately 20,000 hours of service annually through service-learning and community service projects related primarily to educating youth, and addressing the needs of the elderly, the environment, and those facing poverty.
The mission of the Office of Community Engagement is to serve as a resource for faculty for the integration of service-learning, support students in their development as engaged citizens and scholars, and foster mutually beneficial campus-community partnerships to address community needs.
The best way to make the most of your college experience is to get involved! In addition to the on-campus opportunities through clubs and organizations, University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC) students have many opportunities to get involved off campus through service-learning and community service activities too. Working with other students and a diverse group of community members with a diverse set of circumstances gives additional meaning to classroom studies and life. College is a time to be able to “check out” and volunteer with various organizations. It is an opportunity to discover what you are passionate about or what inspires you. It is an opportunity to make a difference in the world!
At UMC there are many opportunities to volunteer through annual events organized through the Office of Community Engagement such as Meet Crookston through Service, MLK Day of Service, National Youth Service Day, amongst others (see below). If you are a member of one of the many clubs on campus, you will be encouraged to complete at least two service projects each semester. Those of you living in the residence halls have an opportunity to volunteer with other floor members. If you are not part of a club or don’t live on campus, no worries! There are lots of opportunities for individuals to get involved too!
Learn more about...
- Volunteering Beyond Crookston
- National Youth Service Day
- Meet Crookston Through Service
- MLK Day of Service
- Awards & Recognition
- Photo Album
For Community Partners
For Community Partners
Partnerships are vital to the success of our campus and our community. We view community partners as co-educators in our students' college experience. Community partners provide "real life" experiences for our students that increase the relevance of what students are learning in their classrooms. Community partners gain access to academic expertise through service-learning projects and help provide an important perspective in our students' civic development. Students provide needed services and staffing to local schools and non-profit organizations.
We invite community partners to develop long-term, meaningful relationships with our office. Let's work together to build a stronger community!
Ways to Partner
There are many ways that community partners can collaborate with the Office of Community Engagement. To propose an idea for a partnership, please complete the Project Request Form.
One-time Community Service Project
One-time community service projects are opportunities for students with busy schedules to serve or for those wanting to check out various organizations. One-time community service projects require very little training. These projects are often good for groups such as our clubs, who are looking for community service opportunities. Examples of one-time service projects include event set-ups, serving for special events, ditch clean-up, or staffing children's activities for an event.
Ongoing Community Service Project
Ongoing community service projects require an ongoing commitment from volunteers. These projects tend to be best suited for individuals or a larger group that can send over a few of its members at regularly schedule times. Training is often required. Examples of some ongoing community service projects include the Senior Student Surf Connection at Summit Apartments, tutoring in after school programs, or working at a local therapy farm.
Awards Given to Students, Faculty, Staff & Community Partners
Awards Given to Students, Faculty, Staff & Community Partners
Our students have discovered that learning goes beyond the classroom and community service is an important part of the college experience. UMC students regularly volunteer over 10,000 hours per year in addition to another 10,000 through academic service learning. Each spring the Service Learning office recognizes students, clubs, faculty, and community partners for their outstanding work in making UMC, Crookston, and the world a better place.
The UMC Student Volunteer of the Year not only volunteers many hours but exemplifies the spirit of community service. He or she makes an outstanding contribution to the community (UMC, local, regional, national, or world) through volunteer service and demonstrates exceptional commitment, service, creativity, cooperation, or leadership. This volunteer serves as a role model for others in their community and inspires others to engage in volunteer service too.
To be considered for this award, please submit your hours online. This award is presented at the spring Student Achievement Awards ceremony.
Outstanding Service Learning Faculty Award
The Outstanding Service Learning Service Learning Faculty Award honors a faculty member who demonstrates excellence incorporating service-learning pedagogy into one or more courses. The recipient uses service-learning best practices as an innovative teaching tool to engage students in civic learning. The recipient’s course(s) also shows evidence of critical reflection, community benefit, and demonstrates a commitment to advocating for service-learning on campus and beyond.
Dale Knotek Community Service Award
Named for Dale Knotek, former Student Activities director at UMC, this award honors the UMC club which best exemplifies outstanding commitment to service in and around Crookston. Clubs are welcome to apply through a self-nomination process. The award is presented at the spring Student Achievement Awards ceremony.
President's Student Service Award (PSSA)
As a way to recognize our UMC students for their volunteerism, the Community Engagement office presents the President’s Student Service Awards (PSSA). Started in 1998 by President Clinton, PSSA is a way to recognize students across America who have devoted their time to volunteering. All full-time, domestic students who contribute at least 100 hours of service to the community within any 12-month period are eligible.
Outstanding Service Learning Community Partner
None of our volunteerism would happen without wonderful community partners who know our students and programs, think creatively to best serve the needs and of their clients and our students, and spend many hours preparing for volunteers. The Service Learning office appreciates the many collaborations we have and celebrates one partnership each year with the Outstanding Service Learning Community Partner Award.