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Service-Learning and Civic Engagement

Serve. Share. Learn. Opportunities in and out of the classroom for you to make a difference.
Students outdoors

MC’s Service-Learning Program (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader - Link opens in new window) engages students, faculty, and community organizations in meaningful, collaborative, and mutually beneficial projects. Students may serve as part of their academic coursework or as a co-curricular activity.

Through service learning, MC students meet new people, learn new skills, and make a difference for a day, a week, or a semester.

We support MC’s goal to foster community building, civic responsibility, and intercultural understanding by working to enrich the life of the community, serve as a place for neutral public dialog, and advance social justice.

Brian Naves delivering a Nourish Now Hunger Relief Kit

Find a Service-Learning Project

Explore our collegewide programs below, and visit the MC Serves Databasenew window for more opportunities. Visit the Montgomery County Volunteer Centernew window for county-wide opportunities.

Learn and serve with local organizations for a day with other MC students. Past Spirit of Service Days have included Good Deeds Day, MLK Day of Service, Accenture Day of Service, annual Earth Day clean-ups, and Homeless Resource Day. 

Whether you're a regular volunteer, new to community service, or part of a club that wants to plan a day of service, we hope you'll join our network and spread the spirit of service everywhere. Join the MC Serves Databasenew window to get involved.

Students in the Manna Food Bank

More than 35 percent of public school students are eligible for free or reduced meals during the school week. Smart Sacks bridge the gap between Friday and Monday, providing nutritious foods for children and their families who might not have another meal until after the weekend.

Montgomery College's Offices of Student Life and Service-Learning Program currently supports elementary schools in areas in or around Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring.

Through Manna Food, Montgomery College students on all three campuses help over a hundred children every week.

Want to meet new people? Get away for a while? Travel to new places? Make a difference? Join other MC students on a week or weekend packed with community service, meaningful reflections, and fun activities.

Alternative Break service trips help students learn about social issues through direct service, issue education, and reflection. Students explore critical community issues and how they can make a difference in the local or global community.

Applications will be shared via Student Life social media and on-campus flyers as they become available.

Impact MC (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader - Link opens in new window) is a service-learning leadership development program designed to help students become change agents at MC and in our surrounding communities. In this year-long leadership development program, students work in teams to engage other MC students in service, awareness, and advocacy projects related to the UN’s Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Applications are available in the summer through early fall for each year's cohort. 

Interested? Fill out this formnew window and we’ll email you when the application opens!

Volunteer, Track Your Hours, and Earn Awards

The MC Serves Databasenew window is a tool to find volunteer opportunities, track your hours and earn awards.

To sign up for existing opportunities: (Top Tab)

  • Once logged in to the MC Serves Databasenew window, click the “Needs” button on the left panel
  • Complete the waiver
  • Search and register for opportunities
  • If you can’t find what you’re looking for on the MC Serves Database, check out our resources under “Find a Service-Learning Project”

To sign up for existing opportunities:

  • Log into MC Serves Databasenew window
  • Complete the waiver, if required
  • Click the “needs” button on the top left panel.
  • Search for specific needs using key words or zip code. Note: This database is synced with the Montgomery County Volunteer Center, and includes all volunteer listings from their site plus opportunities specific to Montgomery College.
  • View volunteer opportunities in the community at MC Servesnew window. After creating your account, click “needs” and search using key words or zip code. Note: This database is synced with the Montgomery County Volunteer Center, and includes all volunteer listings from their site plus opportunities specific to Montgomery College. 
What to Record

Record Your Hours Spent:

  • Performing any activity assigned to you by your  community partner
  • Creating products as directed by a community partner, e.g. grants, brochures, website
  • Performing any activity directly related to the outcome of your service project, like making flyers for a fundraiser you are helping to plan
  • Planning, researching, or preparing for activities, when necessary to complete assigned tasks or as directed by an community partner
  • Undergoing training or orientation activities, when hosted by a community partner or related organization (e.g., CPR training by the Red Cross for an assisted living center)
  • Planning projects with a community partner by remote or in-person meetings

Do NOT Record Hours Spent:

  • Traveling to/from a service site, unless with clients or the organization as part of a related activity, e.g. a tour that is part of an orientation, training meant to prepare you to do the service task, supervising school children on a bus to a service site
  • Sleeping, i.e. when staying overnight at a service site
  • Performing work for a political candidate or political party
  • Proselytizing for a particular religion
  • Eating, unless as part of an assigned activity, e.g. at a meeting or event
  • Contacting community organizations when arranging an initial partnership
  • Research done on your own to enhance your knowledge or understanding of the partner
    Reflection activities, assigned or otherwise, e.g. journaling, making class presentations, writing class research papers  

Service awards are given annually for hours served between May 1 and April 30. Share your service in the MC Serves Database to be considered for the following MC Service Awards: 

  • Spirit of Service Certificate (20-99 hours)
  • MC Spirit of Service Medallion (100+ hours)
  • If eligible, the U.S. President's Volunteer Service Award (100+ hours)
  • Outstanding Service Leader

Applications for the President's Volunteer Service Award may be submitted year round. Learn more about PVSA and applynew window.


Resources for Faculty

The Service-Learning program can help you integrate academic service-learning projects into your courses.

Academic Service-learning is:

  • A teaching method through which students apply their academic learning to address community needs through service. Learning takes place when students reflect on their service experience and connect their service to their coursework.
  • A high impact approach linked to higher GPAs, increased student retention, and enhanced civic engagement.
  • A form of active learning that values critical thinking and problem solving.
  • A great hands-on experience for students in any discipline.
  • Service-learning may be conducted as a full class project, in groups or independently. Most importantly, students should be able to connect their learning to the course objectives.
Support Available for Academic Service-Learning

Before the Semester:

  • Training for faculty and support staff.
  • Curriculum design or re-design to incorporate service-learning.
  • Assignment design or re-design to incorporate service-learning.
  • Providing reflection resources.
  • Connecting to community partners.
  • Limited financial and logistical support.
  • Connecting a class to an existing day of service or, in some cases, coordinating a day of service.

During and After the Semester:

  • Support faculty facilitators​.
  • As available, service-learning coordinators attend class to support service-learning projects or share expertise.
  • Evaluate select projects​.
  • Recognize and share exemplar projects​.
  • Note: Given the service-learning staffing limitations and research about impactful service-learning , very limited support is available for connecting students to individual academic service projects or verifying academic service hours in MC Serves database. Please review the Process to Access Service-Learning Supportnew window and speak to a service-learning coordinator before assigning individual service placements.

To get started, submit a request for supportnew window

View the Process to Access Service-Learning Supportnew window.

Submit an updated Academic Service Learning Plannew window at the start of each semester. Submission of this plan is necessary for your class to be updated in MC Serves database and for you to be considered for independent evaluation.

View volunteer opportunities in the community at MC Servesnew window. After creating your account, click “needs” and search using key words or zip code. Note: This database is synced with the Montgomery County Volunteer Center, and includes all volunteer listings from their site plus opportunities specific to Montgomery College.

Resources for Community Organizations

Information for nonprofits, schools, and government agencies interested in partnering with the College.

Are you a nonprofit, school, or government agency interested in partnering with Montgomery College? Do you have an established volunteer program or need support for a particular project? We can help you connect with service-learning courses, student clubs and organizations, and independent student volunteers.
MC offers the following resources to connect your organization with student volunteers: 

  1. Attend our fall and spring semester Volunteer Fairs on each campus! Contact the service-learning coordinator to be added to our invitation list.
  2. List your volunteer opportunity with the Montgomery County Volunteer Center! These opportunities are synced with MC Serves, the Montgomery College database, and visible to MC students seeking volunteer roles!
  3. If you have a specific idea for collaboration with MC students or faculty, please contact the service-learning coordinator on the campus most local to your organization.
    We look forward to working with you