Student Affairs and Services say ‘thank you’ to community partners in learning

Saint Mary’s is known for community engagement and makes it a priority to offer experiential learning to students across all faculties.

But it takes a supportive and engaged network of like-minded partners to make valuable initiatives like Service Learning and the Co-Curricular Record possible.

That’s why on March 25, 2019, Student Affairs and Services hosted the first-ever Community Partner Recognition event, which saw faculty and staff gather to welcome representatives from 19 partner organizations to campus.

Partner organizations included United Way, Museum of Natural History, Parker Street Food and Furniture Bank, Ecology Action Centre, the YMCA and many more.  

“We have many volunteers and community partners who do so much to benefit our students,” said Sarah Bray, Service Learning Placement Coordinator at Saint Mary’s. “We felt it was important to acknowledge the people and organizations who support our students each year through volunteer and service learning opportunities, both on and off campus.”

The event also provided an opportunity to connect, share experiences and further develop networks with faculty, staff, and other community partners.

While service learning isn’t a new concept at Saint Mary’s, the addition of Bray’s role in 2017 gave it greater focus as well as administrative and logistical support to faculty, students and community members.

Co-Curricular Record Coordinator Christy Starkey hosted co-organized the event along with Bray.

“We help connect students to over 800 co-curricular activities that help them develop as individuals and that complements and enhances their learning experiences at Saint Mary’s,” says Starkey. “We rely on the support of community members on and off campus to provide these experiences, and this was a great way to show our appreciation and strengthen relationships.”

About Service Learning

Course-Based Service Learning is an experiential learning approach that connects course content to community based experiences. 

  • žReflection is an essential aspect of Service Learning and allows students to tie their community-based experiences to their course content.

  • žService Learning can be optional or mandatory within a course, depending on how the faculty member wishes to incorporate

  • Students can benefit by connecting course curriculum to real-life situations, reflecting on the experience, building networks, broadening knowledge, deepening skills, and challenge presumptions. Students can get involved in optional Service Learning within a course by signing up during the first week of the term.

Learn more:  https://smu.ca/campus-life/service-learning.html

About the Co-Curricular Record

  • žThe Co-Curricular Record (CCR) helps students record and verify out-of-class experiences and capture skills on an official university verified document. 

  • Co-Curricular programming connects students with opportunities to engage in activities identified as fostering lifelong learning through personal growth and development, developing employability skills and enhancing transferable skills beyond what is recognized on the student’s academic transcript.

  • žStudents and alumni can use their CCR official document to showcase their skills to employers and to include as supporting documentation in their portfolios as well as in application packages such as graduate school and bursaries.

Learn more: smu.ca/ccr