A service learning project was introduced during the Spring 1998 Semester to a senior-level capstone course in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University. The learning outcomes of the project were significant and meaningful. In a writing assignment about the service learning project, students reported that the positive outcomes included: new insights into the social conditions of their community; unique challenges that were overcome by applying critical thinking and teamwork to new situations; and opportunities to work through conflicts that inevitably arise when working with other individuals and organizations. These positive, tangible benefits were considered more important for some students than for others. A diversity of projects were selected, based on student interest and the availability of time to be allocated to the project. Written reports of the projects were well done. However, class discussion could have provided for a more meaningful method of sharing service project experiences and will be incorporated into future courses.
service learning project, community service, interpersonal skills, personal growth