The community engagement program is designed to give students the chance to engage, learn, and lead in communities with identified needs through ongoing and one-time service, immersion programs, and academic civic engagement.
Being an Active Community Member
What does it mean to be an engaged citizen? Here in SLS, we challenge students, faculty, and staff, to question and broaden our definition of community engagement.
There is more to community engagement then volunteering your time. We value active participation, from attending local street fairs to volunteerism and community-based research. We believe that powerful relationships and social capital are crucial components for community building and collective action in local, national, and global communities.
Explore Portland. Join a neighborhood committee. Read the daily newspaper. Volunteer at Open Meadow. The options are endless!
SLS is the primary campus resource for students interested in community engagement. The following are opportunities for students interested in exploring, participating and leading community-based programs and projects:
One-Time Community Service Opportunities
Saturday in Service
Saturday in Service is a direct service opportunity that occurs once a month throughout the academic year. SLS partners with organizations in Portland, from Zenger Farms to the Oregon Food Bank, in an effort to connect students to one-time service projects with community organizations.
Day: One Saturday/Month
Student Leadership Opportunities: Click to email our office
MLK Day of Service
MLK Day of Service is a multi-institutional collaboration among 14 colleges and universities in the greater-Portland metro area. The event brings students, staff, and faculty from across Portland together to honor and celebrate Dr. King’s legacy. Annually, this is the largest mobilization of college students in the country on MLK Day. The cooperative is facilitated by Oregon Campus Compact.
Spring into Action
Spring into Action is a day-long community service day for all members of the Lewis & Clark community, including students, staff, faculty, and alumni from all three campuses. This opportunity, with volunteer sites on and off campus, aims to build community within the Lewis & Clark and Portland community. The day has become a Lewis & Clark tradition that is administered by student leaders in cooperation with the Center and Alumni and Parent Programs.
Ongoing Service Opportunities
Open Meadow is a non-profit that offers a personalized educational experience for middle and high school youth. Their mission is to develop connection, capability, and confidence in disconnected youth through relationship-based, quality learning experiences that result in academic, personal, and community success.
Lewis & Clark volunteers participate in their Step Up Program, an extended academic day tutoring program at Roosevelt High School. Volunteers work with small “advocate groups” to provide necessary support.
Day: Wednesdays, ongoing
Location: Franklin High School
Open Meadow Website
S.M.A.R.T. (Start Making a Reader Today) Reading Program:
SLS partners with SMART – a reading program that helps kids become confident readers by providing individual volunteer attention and new, take-home books – to provide this volunteer opportunity. As a SMART volunteer, you will read to kids at various elementary schools in Portland. Your goal is to help the kids you read to become more confident readers. This is a weekly commitment for at least one semester.
Day: Tuesdays, ongoing
Location: Woodmere Elementary School
Alternative Breaks at Lewis & Clark provide student-facilitated integrative learning experiences for groups of students during their academic breaks. Groups work with community initiatives to address issues of power, privilege and oppression that exist in local and global communities.
Each year SLS and College Outdoors offer new students the opportunity to launch their Lewis & Clark College careers with fun and adventure. All of the New Student Trips take place in the late summer, just before New Student Orientation for all incoming students. SLS offers two Portland based service-learning trips:
- Urban Action: This program introduces students to issues of homelessness, hunger, and poverty in the Portland-metro area. Through volunteering with community-based organizations, participants will become familiar with, and start to develop an analysis around, the variety of solutions that are being implemented in Portland.
- Sustainable Action: In this Portland-based trip, students explore the relationship between sustainable food systems and social and environmental justice. Participants volunteer with groups, from urban farmers to rural farm workers and environmental advocates, to address issues such as unequal food access, resource consumption, and farmer workers rights.
The New Student Trips are led by current students. For more information on this program, please visit College Outdoors.
Leadership & Service Scholars
The Leadership & Service Scholar award is given to matriculating high school seniors and transfer students. It recognizes students who have demonstrated outstanding academics combined with exemplary leadership and/or service in their school or community. Recipients participate in learning and engagement activities to renew their scholarship. More information is available on the Leadership & Service Scholars Page.
Volunteering In & Around Portland
- Hands on Greater Portland: This organization is rooted in the idea that “everyone can do something for the community.” It connects people to meaningful one-time and extended volunteer opportunities. Check out the Project Calendar and Non Profit Database.
- Community Non-Profit Resource Group (CNRG): CNRG connects to and within the Portland non-profit community. Sign up for their daily email, a place to exchange ideas, learn about opportunities, and plug into the non-profit community.
- Volunteer opportunities for those interested in….
Portland—Exploring Your City
- Lewis & Clark’s Guide to Portland: This College page provides links to annual city-wide events, local professional sports teams, as well as hiking trails in the Portland-metro area.
- Multicultural Resource Guide to Portland: This resource guide provides information on multicultural events, international restaurants and grocery stores, cultural institutions, culturally specific newspapers, and other helpful resources.
- Willamette Week: A weekly newspaper that features news, culture, and stuff to do in Portland.
Community-Based Learning Networks & Resources
- Oregon Campus Compact: ORCC promotes civic and community engagement as a core educational approach for student development as citizens, leaders, and lifelong learners. The organization supports the work of institutions to educate through service.
- The National Service-Learning Clearinghouse: The NSLC supports the service-learning community in higher education, kindergarden through grade twelve, community-based organizations, tribal programs, and all others interested in strengthening schools and communities through service-learning. NSLC offers extensive resources and a library collection of available grants.
- International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement: IARSLCE is an international non-profit organization devoted to promoting research and discussion about service-learning and community engagement. The organization provides resources and connections to current research. Research is showcased at the annual IRASLCE Conference.