Conference Papers

Summer Service Learning: A Community-Based Approach

  • Veronica Donahue
  • Caitlin Huntley


In 2011, the Summer School at Georgetown University piloted two service-learning courses to serve the needs of a growing student population during the fall and spring, and to assess the potential for future enrollment growth in the summer term. The pretest data consisted of enrollment figures for summer service-learning courses from 2007 through 2011 and enrollment data for a single service-learning course from four academic semesters in 2010 and 2011. The data set also included a qualitative component: anonymous and confidential student interviews conducted in September and October 2011 to discover and assess the specific interests in enrolling in service learning in summer. The analyzed data clearly demonstrated that the addition of an optional service-learning component to existing classes did not deter students from enrolling; nor did it attract more students to the courses, even though the university, perhaps because of its strong Jesuit tradition, attracts a large population of students predisposed to volunteerism. However, there was one significant and unexpected finding: the qualitative data revealed that the single largest hindrance to enrollments was the absence of information about service-learning opportunities. This finding cut across all semesters, fall, spring, and summer, and was supported by data that demonstrated consistent percentages of enrollments in all three semesters for service-learning courses.

How to Cite:

Donahue, V. & Huntley, C., (2013) “Summer Service Learning: A Community-Based Approach”, Summer Academe: A Journal of Higher Education 7. doi:

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Published on
07 May 2013
Peer Reviewed