Campus Compact of the Mountain West (CCMW)
ACC is a member of the Denver-based Campus Compact of the Mountain West, an organization of colleges and universities devoted to promoting civic learning and elevating higher education engagement in the region. CCMW is part of a national coalition of more than 1,100 colleges and universities who are passionately committed to the value service learning and civic engagement brings to higher education and the community.
ACC’s Volunteering To Learn (ViTaL) Team
ACC’s Volunteering To Learn (ViTaL) Team, composed of ACC faculty and staff, works with ACC students to provide invaluable service and resources to community organizations. Past ViTaL Team projects have involved:
- Delivering backpacks filled with donated school supplies, peanut butters, toothpastes, and toothbrushes to underprivileged students at Sheridan High School, helping ACC enrich its partnership with this concurrent enrollment school that has 85% of students in poverty.
- Partnering with ACC's Student Life team to volunteer at Project Homeless Connect, a one-day free resource fair that provides services to homeless individuals and families in need.
- Cleaning up overgrown weeds and dried-up grasses from Denver Audubon's Nature Center at Chatfield State Park.
- Delivering pet supplies donated by the ACC community to Littleton’s Humane Society of the South Platte Valley.
Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society
ACC’s Sigma Phi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) conducts Service Learning projects for its officers, student members, and community. Past projects involved:
- Researching adaptive clothing and the role inclusive clothing can play in a person's daily life. This project gave the officers the opportunity to understand students with disabilities.
- Working on the wetland interpretation project, in collaboration with Hudson Gardens, across the street from ACC’s Littleton Campus. This project focused on developing concepts for signage at the Gardens that outlines the historical significance of the area. Historical information was gleaned through academic research and interviews with the South Platte River Park Supervisor, Director of Public Works at the City of Littleton, and members from the Hudson Foundation.
- Holding a donation drive to help Front Range Community College flood victims.
- Collaborating with internal and external partners to create a visual model illustrating groundwater flux and scarcity. The model was displayed at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science in order to educate the public about global issues surrounding the protection and sourcing of groundwater. The model was donated to ACC’s Geology Department to support future groundwater studies.
Is Service Learning the same as community service?
No. Community service focuses solely on serving those in need. Service Learning prioritizes helping others in order to improve a student’s self-awareness and self-concept, having the student gain real-world experience by engaging with local establishments in the community.
I think I’ve heard of this, but is it called something else?
Service Learning has also been referred to as civic engagement, community engagement, experiential learning, or even hands-on learning.
Isn’t Service Learning just an internship or apprenticeship?
No. There is no money or tangible reward exchanged when students are volunteering in the field in order to help their communities, use their newly acquired academic skills, and learn more about their focus of study.
Why would I even consider Service Learning?
Service Learning has been shown to improve retention at schools and persistence in the classroom because students build a rapport with one another, as well as develop a deeper respect for their communities. Students are equally happy to get out of the classroom and out into the world to do something different than what’s defined in their textbooks. Students see the benefit of spending time in the real world during their community college years, adding their service experiences to their resumes and 4-year college applications.
Is Service Learning just a trend?
No. Service Learning has been around since Socrates and has continued to grow since the 1960s. Students learn inside and outside of the classroom by studying the world around them through a teacher’s learning outcomes in class. By helping others, students develop their own “selves,” becoming valuable members to their society and feeling valued in what they do. Because Service Learning matters not just to students but to their local and global community members, it is now and continues to be a progressive and worthwhile approach to teaching and learning.