Service Learning

  • Students with Palmer at Loaves and Fishes in Kalamazoo

    MBA students learned how firms encourage volunteerism to promote employee engagement, reduce turnover and build bridges with communities, then volunteered their own time.

  • Students participating in the Fort Custer National Cemetery Project

    Service learning in the Haworth College of Business takes students beyond the classroom and allows them to contribute to the overall good of society.

  • MBA students volunteered their time in the Kalamazoo area by rehabilitating a community garden in the Vine Street neighborhood.

  • Graduate students volunteering at City View on the Square

    Graduate students enrolled in the MBA strategic management course spent a class period serving at City View on the Square, a housing cooperative for the elderly. The students helped implement a volunteerism celebration for co-op members. 

  • Lauren Bliss

    Students enrolled in the business ethics and sustainability class at Western Michigan University recently completed 3,700+ hours of service in their communities.

Service learning: beyond self

Students in the Haworth College of Business are learning that social responsibility is an important part of being a business leader. Each semester, Business Broncos make impactful contributions to the community and society through service learning. Combining hands-on community service with classroom instruction, Western Michigan University’s service learning opportunities provide students with meaningful academic experiences that greatly benefit others.

Whether it’s assisting a local agency or serving those in need across the globe, volunteer projects offered through WMU’s Center for Sustainable Business Practices take students beyond the classroom and allow them to contribute to the overall good of society. These lifelong experiences mean our students graduate with a deep sense of social responsibility and commitment to serving others that can be applied immediately to their careers.  

Examples of recent projects

Each semester, students in the ethics and sustainable business course complete 15 hours of community service in addition to their coursework. Community partners in southwest Michigan include:

  • Black Arts and Cultural Center
  • Building Blocks
  • Cheff Therapeutic Riding Center
  • City of Kalamazoo
  • City View on the Square
  • Communities in Schools
  • Douglass Community Center
  • Eastside Neighborhood Association
  • Edison Neighborhood Association
  • Healthy House for Women
  • Heritage at Wyndham
  • Kalamazoo Covenant Academy
  • Medilodge
  • Peacejam
  • Urban Folk Art Exploratory
  • Youth Advancement Academy
  • YMCA of Kalamazoo

MBA students have completed capstone projects with Kalamazoo partners including:

  • Social events for residents of City View in the Square senior living center
  • Landscaping services for Open Doors
  • Rehabilitating a community garden in the Vine Street neighborhood
  • Game night for residents at Wyndham West senior living center

Additionally, the Haworth College of Business offers a number of opportunities for experiential learning through service. Projects include:

  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance trip to Alaska
  • Fort Custer National Cemetery Project in honor of veterans
  • MBA beach cleanup project with Alliance for the Great Lakes

Learn more about service projects offered through the college of business in the PRME report.

Impactful experiences

“The benefits of service learning projects offered through the Center for Sustainable Business Practices are many,” says Dr. Timothy Palmer, professor of management and director of the center. “Students get to have a hands-on experience serving others while learning the importance of social responsibility in the corporate sector. Not only are these opportunities insightful, they are incredibly meaningful.”

Service learning experiences are intended to help students:

  • Develop a perspective on social responsibility.
  • Increase awareness of the outcomes of organizational decisions on stakeholders in addition to stockholders.
  • Become socially responsible business leaders and citizens who recognize the importance of the corporate sector taking a socially responsible perspective.

Learn more