The Community Service Learning (CSL) Program at Geisel School of Medicine is a structured learning experience that combines community services with mentored preparation and reflection. Our program provides a structure to bring students, faculty mentors, and community partners together to engage in CSL and provides support for these activities. Students may apply for a mini or midi grant for up to $5,000 in project funding.
Deadline: March 24, 2024 at 11:59 PM
CSL application download: Geisel CSL Mini/Midi Grant Application
Upload your CSL application here: CSL Mini/Midi Grant Upload
Community Service Learning (CSL) Project Components
Before starting a CSL project, students must be oriented to the community agency and its policies and any risks associated with its work. Orientation allows students to understand the importance of their project to clients, the agency and the community.
An orientation for the student should include:
- The mission and history of the agency
- A tour of the site where they will be serving
- Introductions to staff and other volunteers
- Relevant policies and procedures
- Overview of services the agency provides and to whom
- Time for questions
Student preparation for the project includes:
- Discussing needs with the agency, including possibly reviewing a needs assessment previously conducted or performing one in conjunction with the agency
- Creating a CSL Project Plan with specific measurable objectives under the guidance of the mentor and with input from the community partner
Other forms of preparation for the student may include:
- Literature reviews
- Specific skills training, such as “Build Your CSL Toolkit”
- Collect data on specific project objectives
- Track project data (including number of students, hours and beneficiaries)
Results and Evaluation:
- Use evaluation tools such as a pre/post test, survey, focus group, etc., to determine project effectiveness
- Report project outcomes through the CSL Online Directory (forthcoming)
- Share results with the community partner
- Present a poster at the forthcoming Annual CSL Conference and consider abstract submission to other conferences and/or journals
Critical reflection is a key component that separates service learning from volunteerism. Reflection helps students connect their service with their academic work and clarifies how the CSL activity is affecting the student as a future health care provider.
Reflection can take many forms, including discussions with the team, journaling, blogging and narrative writing. Upon beginning the project, the student and mentor will agree on an appropriate mechanism for and frequency of reflection, but reflection should be regular and ongoing throughout the project.