The Volunteer and Service-Learning Center is always looking for new community partners whose organizational mission is consistent with East Carolina University and with whom ECU students and faculty can collaborate through service-learning and volunteerism. Current research has documented numerous benefits for organizations that partner with university-based experiential learning programs:
- Students meet specific needs of community organizations and help complete projects for community benefit
- University cooperation aids in a community’s efforts to address social issues and problems
- Involvement in the life of a university helps community partners receive needed publicity about their needs and services
- Participation in co-education of college students exposes and teaches communities about emerging generations of students and community leaders
- Involvement in experiential education programs helps community partners establish access and connections to other resources available at the university
- Engagement with students provides an opportunity for a community to shape students' values and to prepare students for civic participation and engagement after graduation.
Community engagement also benefits students in numerous ways, enhancing their academic learning and understanding of subject matter with "real world" experiences, deepening their sense of personal efficacy and identity, and cultivating important critical thinking, moral reasoning, and citizenship skills.
ESTABLISHING A PARTNERSHIP WITH ECU THROUGH THE VSLC
Agencies interested in collaborating with the VSLC as community partners should follow the following procedure:
- Contact the VSLC staff to inquire about establishing a relationship with ECU or diversifying that relationship to include partnership with the VSLC and its programs.
- If your agency's mission, opportunities, and needs seem appropriate for ECU students, VSLC staff will arrange a date and time for a visit of your site(s). Prepare for this visit by studying VSLC’s website and reflecting on the opportunities your organization can offer to ECU students and faculty.
- During the site visit, discuss your organization's interests and needs with VSLC staff, including the possible role(s) ECU students and faculty may play at your organization. Make a mutual agreement with the VSLC staff about the nature and limits of your partnership with ECU.
- After the site visit, read (and, if necessary, sign and return) any paperwork given you by VSLC staff.
- Depending on the nature of your partnership with ECU, VSLC staff may contact you to set up follow up meetings, either with other members of the VSLC staff or with other interested parties at ECU.
VSLC staff will establish an account for you/your organization on ECU’s OrgSync Service Management system, an interactive online resource which VSLC and Student Affairs use to connect students, faculty, and community partners in experiential learning opportunities. You may also post short-term opportunities through the OrgSync system.