Community Engagement & Service Learning

Connecting the college and community for the purpose of fulfilling community needs and giving our students a rich academic experience—that’s community engagement! The Department of Community Engagement works with students, instructors, and community organizations to identify opportunities for partnership. By working together, Western can fulfill community needs while giving students a deeper academic experience.

The phrase “community engagement” is used as an umbrella term at Western that consists of general service/ volunteering and service-learning. Community Engagement is used in the classroom to teach students course outcomes and competencies but also used in extra-curricular aspects of student life.

Click to learn what current projects and partners are happening now!


A method of teaching characterized by all of the following conditions: student participation in an organized service activity that meets an identified community need and is connected to course content/ specific learning outcomes with structured reflection occurring before, during, and after the activity.

Examples of Service Learning at Western – PDF

Why use service-learning to teach course content?

  • Learning is at its best when students are required to apply what they’ve learned through community problem-solving, teaching the community, or providing direct service.
  • Course completion and grades are generally higher. Students enjoy real life scenarios rather than hypothetical projects.
  • Provides students with opportunities to become active in their communities which will lead to a deeper sense of social responsibility and civic engagement.
  • An opportunity to expand a students’ network helping them with their future job search.
  • Provides services and solutions to needs in our communities.

Community Need, Local Agencies, and Volunteering

Ugetconnected is a local platform funded by Western Technical College, Great Rivers United Way, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and Viterbo University. The online platform features opportunities for potential volunteers to serve in the community, matches volunteers with their interests, and serves as a listing of local agencies in our community.


Contact Kari Reyburn,, for more resources, templates, and documents to design service-learning in your course.

Kari Reyburn
Community Engagement Coordinator