The value of service-learning is well documented in testimonials from faculty, students, and community partners. Here are a few statements from WMU students, faculty, and partners: 


  • "Service is an integral part of building a stronger community and building more understanding and accepting relationships with others. I feel that we all have an obligation to our communities – locally, nationally, and globally. Service is not so much about what you do; it’s who you are."

    Jessica, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Sociology, Western Michigan University
  • "Social Work 4650 (Building Blocks) turned out to be one of the best courses I have ever taken throughout my four years at Western. I found that the Building Blocks program and the residents I worked with taught me more than any traditional class ever could have. I was able to develop my leadership, problem-solving and organizational skills in a hands-on setting with extremely rewarding end-results.”

    Kelsey, Social Work Major, Western Michigan University
  • “During my final semester at WMU I had the privilege of managing two feasibility studies for the Haworth College of Business under the direction of Dr. Tim Palmer.  Both of the studies required intensive research and analysis of the community, business environment, and demographics of the Edison area in Kalamazoo, MI.  In the first project, my team assessed the likelihood of a daycare succeeding in the neighborhood.  The second study looked at establishing a “Cultural Expo” to promote the areas’ unique heritage and diversity in the surrounding communities.The experience helped instill in me a desire to live and work in a community where civic engagement is built into the culture.I believe Western Michigan University and the Haworth College of Business are promoting such an environment for their students.”

    Kylie, Haworth College of Business, Western Michigan University
  • “Never before have I been in a class where I truly had to apply everything I had learned in all my courses to problem solve. Community organizing… changed me in so many positive ways and taught me more than I could ever imagine. I learned about leadership in the real world and became aware of skills I didn't realize I had. The class focuses on mobilizing a collection of people to become a community, and I'm proud that, because of our work in class, our site became a community.”

    Erin, Organizational Communication Major, Nonprofit Leadership Minor, Western Michigan University
  • "The students from Lakeside Academy were very engaged in the activity and loved hearing our stories about college, and they shared with us their dreams and hopes for the future. As they learned from me, I also learned a great deal from them.I have learned a great deal through service-learning and it has helped clear the path that leads to my future.”

    Heather Kunath, WMU student
  • “Out of the various ways to get involved on campus, the Office of Service-Learning at WMU has provided more than a gateway to serving the community. It has been one of the pillars for me to not only engage in service at WMU but within the Kalamazoo community also. It has also taught me how significant service to the community is by learning to bridge the gap not only between what's taught in the classroom through the application of service, but bridging the gap between ourselves and our society as a whole."

    Rasheeda Jenkins, WMU student

Student Staycation testimonials 2014

  • Every human interaction made a difference in the way I viewed people.  I never would have thought about the lives of people with autism, troubled youth, retired senior citizens or mentally ill people and how different yet important their lives are.
  • Getting out into the community can produce love and compassion which is great.
  • Show more compassion, understanding, and love toward others. Volunteer more.
  • I’m going to try to do one thing different a day, like what I thought or told myself I couldn’t do, I’m going to do.
  • This whole week has been incredible.  I never imagined such an experience, such an impactful moment.
  • I needed this more than I realized. I needed this in order to help find myself. 
  • This week…has completely changed me.
  •  I want to show others the gift of just loving, the possibilities that could happen if we weren’t so scared, so uptight, so judgmental

University Administrators       

  • "WMU embraces an academic and egalitarian approach to service-learning, encouraging organizations and residents of our community to join with our students, faculty, staff, and administrators to create solutions to social problems and create lasting, sustainable change."

    President Dr. John Dunn, Western Michigan University
  • "Experiential learning and community service are important ingredients in a well-rounded student career at WMU. When these can be combined as in service-learning, it is truly the best of both worlds. The student, the University and the community all benefit. Everybody wins!"

    Bob Miller, Associate Vice President for Community Outreach, Western Michigan University
  • "As the director of service-learning, I have the privilege of working with numerous stakeholders, including students, professors/instructors, and community partners which allows me to witness firsthand the impact of intentional collaborations on both students and the communities we serve."

    Shawn Tenney, Director of Service-Learning, Western Michigan University
  •  "Service-Learning can transform lives.  As a Social Work professor, my ‘textbook’ is the community.  From a personal and professional perspective, service-learning has enriched my life, and I’m proud to be associated with a University that values it as a Learner-Centered approach to engaging the student."

    Dr. Barbara Barton, Social Work Professor, Western Michigan University
  •  "As an instructor, I have found that [service-learning] has a profound impact on the students’ ability to fully grasp subject matter, to more completely own her/his own learning of it, and to more effectively apply the material to her/his life-long learning experience."

    Richard Szwaja, Instructor, Western Michigan University