Service Learning Ideas by Discipline


  • Assist low-income families in preparing their tax forms (the Salvation Army has a tax assistance program).
  • Create a finance organization system for a non-profit agency or group.

Adaptive Education

  • Participate in the Wisconsin Early Autism Project (visit for more information) working regularly with an autistic child.
  • Serve as a sign-language translator for a deaf student in an elementary school classroom.

American Studies

  • Have students volunteer at community agencies centered around some key causes in American society today: homelessness, healthcare, education and the achievement gap for minority students, etc.
  • Study the history and root causes of social problems in America and make a presentation to community groups.
  • Discuss the idea of community in America, including visions of community, the evolution of community, and civic engagement. Serve at an agency that promotes community involvement, such as a neighborhood resource center.


  • Empty Bowls project painting bowls and then selling them full of soup at a hunger awareness event, then donating profits to a hunger-related charity (see for more information)
  • Mural painting in elementary school-look for grants to cover cost of paints/supplies.
  • Work with an after-school program for low-income students, teaching a simple lesson on art history and/or completing an art project (i.e. Connecticut College, New London, CT).
  • Graphic design/marketing campaign for non-profit agency.
  • Service project using recycled art as medium (combine with Environmental Studies course, could potentially display finish pieces in the galleries on campus).
  • Have students use a service experience as artistic inspiration. Students volunteer, then create a piece that reflects on their service experience.
  • Photography students capture images that display their perceptions of community. The photographs are then displayed in a community center and/or gallery.


  • Work with local high schools to present workshops on the pathology of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Assist a nature preserve in identifying plant species; help remove invasive plant species.

Business Administration

  • Work with the Junior Achievement program to give students an overview of the free enterprise system and basic principles of business and economics. Lessons range in difficulty, as students can be placed in elementary, middle, and high school classrooms.
  • Present workshops for low-income participants at a local neighborhood resource. Topics might include budgeting and financial management, wise investing, tax preparation, etc.
  • Design and implement a marketing plan for a non-profit community agency.
  • Students prepare business plans for small profit-making businesses and non-profit agencies. Students could also consult with agencies that have existing business plans and generate ideas on how financial plans could be improved (both are course descriptions from the Yale University School of Business).
  • Students may write up a business plan or marketing strategy to assist high school students in art/shop classes sell their works. Monies would go into scholarships for which the high students may later apply.


  • Students go door to door distributing brochures about the dangers of lead-based paint in older homes, then ask for the homeowner’s permission to take a paint sample. Later, the paint samples are analyzed in a laboratory for the presence of lead. The information is then distributed to the homeowners and government officials (service learning course at the University of Utah).
  • Students in a basic chemistry course present a chemistry-related topic to elementary school students, working in teams of six and visiting the classroom three times during the semester (service learning course at Colorado State University).

Communications, Media and Theater

  • Conduct a communications training session with a non-profit agency. Students seek out an agency, assess their needs, then develop a 1-2 hour training session for agency staff that will help them to communicate more effectively with agency clients (service learning course at Humboldt State University).
  • Conduct media literacy workshops for students in local elementary schools (service learning course at California State University, Monterey Bay).
  • Conduct workshops on interpersonal communication and effective conflict resolution for students in an elementary school or after school program.
  • Develop theater workshops that encourage participants to use theater as a means of dealing with their emotions.
  • Allow students in technical theater courses to receive credit for volunteering with a community theatre company.
  • Develop a theater of diversity course in which students studies plays which deal with issues of diversity, then develop their own skits and present them to students in local elementary schools.

Computer Science/Computer Information Systems

  • Assist a non-profit agency in developing a website to inform both its clients and the general public of its purpose and activities.
  • Design a computer program to assist students in matching interests and skills to find appropriate volunteer placement sites within the community.
  • Assist LSI staff in developing and maintaining a service learning resource website.


  • Analyze statistics and finances gathered by a non-profit community organization.
  • Students in a labor economics course work with a community agency that helps he unemployed find jobs that fit their needs (service learning course at Calvin College).
  • Conduct a workshop in a low-income elementary school teaching its students about free enterprise and financial management.


  • Work with a program tutoring low-income elementary school students on a weekly basis.
  • Develop and implement a strategy for teaching reading to adults at a community center or neighborhood resource center.
  • Volunteer at a daycare center for low-income children assisting teachers and developing appropriate activities.
  • Address a community need by developing a program for children and families that speaks to a particular community interest.
  • The Grancare Nursing Home’s Nursery Hour brings together preschool students with elderly residents for activities and shared learning.


  • Pen pal program with elementary school students.
  • Writing letters to government officials lobbying them to support a specific issue within the community.
  • Creative writing course writing/publishing books to donate to local elementary school students.
  • Partnering with middle school classroom to teach about journal writing.
  • Literature of service course examining themes of social justice through the written word.
  • Learning the practice of documentary writing by volunteering at any community agency, then writing a documentary piece. Students should first study the work of documentary writers, possibly including "Let us Now Praise Famous Men" by James Agee, "Doctor Stories" by William Carlos Williams and "Tell Me a Riddle" by Tillie Olsen.

English as a Second Language/International Education

  • Allow students to volunteer in the community to foster interaction with native English speakers

Environmental Science/Environmental Policy

  • Document and publicize local businesses who are violating environmental quality regulations.
  • Research alternative energy sources and create a plan which the college can adopt to create a more environmentally friendly campus.
  • Make a presentation in local elementary schools teaching children strategies to protect the environment.
  • Collaborate with the art department on creating art using recycled materials.
  • Create and distribute educational pamphlets to distribute to the public, teaching homeowners to install low-flow showerheads, compost, plant trees, recycle, etc.


  • Work with an elementary school to create a geocache program, in which students use a global positioning system. Place educational prizes within the cache (See geocaching webpage ​for more information).
  • Create a map of Green Bay/De Pere based on average income. Disseminate the map to local government officials and assistance agencies with a view toward creating a more even wealth distribution.


  • Prepare a workshop to teach K-12 students about the geology of Northeastern Wisconsin.
  • Analyze Northeastern Wisconsin’s water table to determine the resources and needs the area possesses.
  • Analyze 100 year flood maps to assist potential homeowners in selecting a location for their home away from the flood plain (service learning course at Bates College).


  • Study the history of homelessness in the Green Bay/De Pere communities and disseminate findings to local homeless shelters.
  • Develop a course on the history of philanthropy/social justice movements and have students serve at organizations that have been key in the areas, such as the YMCA and the Salvation Army.
  • Develop a partnership with Heritage Hill State Historical Park in which history students, working in conjunction with park staff, develop living history programs and workshops for local elementary school students.
  • Research the history of the De Pere community, interviewing elderly citizens and local historians, and present your findings to students in the K-12 school district.
  • Volunteer at an agency that assists war veterans (service learning course at Rutgers University).

Humanities and Fine Arts

  • Research a particular artist/piece of art or composer/musical piece and present findings to students in an after-school program or K-12 school.
  • Assist the community in understanding human expression through the fine arts by presenting a workshop at a local community center.

International Business and Language Area Studies

  • Assist foreign language speakers in preparing tax forms.
  • Conduct a presentation on financial management for foreign language speakers.
  • Assist in the operation of Discoveries International (current, ongoing service learning project).

International Studies

  • Complete a fundraising project for an international organization, such as the Zambia project or FUVIRESE, and learn the mission and functions of the organization.
  • Work with international students, offering camaraderie cultural exchanges.


  • Present a leadership workshop, offering information on leadership theory and practice, to students in an after school program for at-risk youth, then work with the students to implement a service project.
  • Organize a voter education drive, display leadership in encouraging fellow students to vote.
  • Plan and implement a national service event at St. Norbert College (past events have included turn off the TV week and National and Global Youth Service Day).


  • Assist a non-profit organization in developing and conducting a survey, based on the needs of that organization. Analyze the data collected from the survey and report back to the organization (service learning course at Union County College).
  • Work with the America Counts program to tutor low-income children in mathematics.
  • Develop a mathematics workshop, making math fun for students in a low-income elementary school.

Military Science

  • Teach elementary school students about the importance of respect for the American flag.
  • Create an event or goods drive to raise funds and/or goods to support American troops overseas.
  • Collaborate with the art department to create greeting cards to send to American troops overseas.

Modern Foreign Languages

  • Language education students spend several hours per week tutoring in a local elementary school.
  • Students in an international business and language area studies course make a presentation (in their studied language) to community members on financial management and budgeting.
  • Foreign language students translate documents for the local school district so that community members who speak an alternate language are able to better communicate with the district and its teachers, and fully participate in their children's education.
  • Students work with the local chapter of the Salvation Army translating vital tax information for clients who speak a foreign language.
  • Spanish students could write opinion editorials to the local Hispanic newspaper, El Hispano, detailing a specific issue faced by the Green Bay Hispanic community.
  • Present a specific aspect of language or culture to residents in a local nursing home.
  • Students on a service learning trip conduct surveys of residents living on the Texas-Mexico border to gauge interest in participating on a co-op to life residents out of poverty (see Sr. Sally Ann Brickner for more information).


  • Conduct music and theatre workshops with local elementary schools.
  • Music program for underprivileged students, then using them as a children’s chorus in that year’s musical.
  • Students teach piano lessons to at-risk students (service learning course at the University of Utah).
  • Students in an opera workshop course develop and rehearse an opera, then take their opera on tour to several local schools. (service learning course at Southwest Missouri State University).

Natural Sciences

  • Students lead small groups of students in a low-income elementary school in fun, educational, and engaging science-related activities. Past examples have included making and shooting off rockets, designing and flying paper airplanes, designing Lego Mars rovers, etc. (service learning course at Arizona State University).
  • Work with the Einstein Project to promote science education in elementary school classrooms (see Einstein Project).

Peace and Justice

  • Work with a grassroots organization to protest or support a particular social justice cause.
  • Lobby local, state, and national government to support a particular cause. Send letters, make phone calls, etc.
  • Volunteer at a social-justice related organization.

Philippines Studies

  • Give presentations on Philippine culture to students in an elementary school or residents of a local nursing home.
  • Study and document the presence of people of Philippine descent in Green Bay, then work to meet a particular need of people within that community.


  • Students put theory into practice by doing service that demonstrates an awareness of such causes as cultural diversity, social reform and community esteem (service learning course at Brevard Community College).
  • Students in a philosophy of human rights course could work with a human rights organization, such as Oxfam or the American Civil Liberties Union.

Physical Education

  • Conduct healthy eating and exercise clinics for students in a local elementary school.
  • Develop a sports league for students in low-income elementary schools, stressing the importance of teamwork.
  • Conduct sports clinics in a variety of sports.


  • Present workshops on physics basics to students in a local elementary school.
  • Students in a nuclear physics class study the science of nuclear weapons, then lobby the government for stricter laws regulating weapons testing.
  • Study alternative energy sources and provide a report to the college with recommendations on the best way the college can conserve energy.

Political Science

  • Work with a local government official to make your voice heard on a specific community concern.
  • Develop a workshop on government structure for local elementary schools, focusing specifically on the importance of civic engagement.
  • Develop a mock senate for elementary school students, carefully explaining governmental structure
  • At election time, form a non-partisan watchdog group that provides readily accessible and easily understandable information on candidates so that voters can make informed decisions.
  • Conduct a voter registration drive on campus.
  • Volunteer two hours per week at a local non-profit agency or government aid agency.
  • Educate high school seniors about the importance of voting and assist them in the voter registration process.


  • Volunteer at a hospital for the mentally ill.
  • Work to apply social psychological principles to promote positive behavioral changes, such as a change in recycling habits.
  • Students apply class principles to work at a hotline for victims of sexual assault.
  • Develop a pretest/posttest evaluating the effect the dissemination of drug prevention literature has on actual drug use within a community. (Service learning course at Miami Dade College).
  • Volunteer with an agency that provides therapy to children with autism or other developmental disabilities.

Religious Studies

  • Assist with ministry at a local parish.
  • In the Christian tradition, serve at any organization which cares for people in need.
  • Develop a religious studies/Sunday school curriculum for children who come from low-income homes.


  • Volunteer at any non-profit organization that places an emphasis on human services.
  • Come to an understanding of the workings of the community by volunteering with a citizen group or neighborhood resource center.
  • Students in a society, sex and marriage course could volunteer at an organization that provides mediation and support for families in crisis.
  • Develop a program to teach elementary school students about gang prevention in their school.

Women’s and Gender Studies

  • Volunteer with the YMCA Girl’s Night Out program, which provides support and teaches positive developmental skills to adolescent girls.
  • Assist in leading a Girl Scout Troop.
  • Volunteer at a shelter for pregnant and parenting teenaged girls, such as Marion House and House of Hope.
  • Develop a curriculum to teach middle school and high school students about breaking down gender stereotypes.