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Partnership as Activism: Fostering Long-Term Institutional Service-Learning Partnerships through Residence Hall Programming

This session will outline a solution to the problem of transient partnerships that depend on short-term interest on the part of students and student groups that come and go without regard for the longevity of service-learning partnerships. Begun in 1997, the Calvin College Residence Hall Community Partnership program allows for long-term institutional partnerships to thrive with structural commitments that are managed by the college’s Service-Learning Center. Program attendees can expect a thorough overview of the Residence Hall Community Partnership program at Calvin College, with comments from community partners, weaknesses and strengths of the program, and student feedback.  The program will also address ways to connect current waves of student activism with well- developed partnerships and service-learning activity.

Extension of session experience

Participants will be encouraged to consider the depth and longevity of current local institutional community partnerships, and to consider ways institutional structures might help develop longer-term commitments between universities and local partners. Equally, participants will be invited to consider connections between student activism and well-developed partnerships and managed service-learning activities.

Important question explored

  • How can university offices of community engagement or service-learning improve and deepen local partnership commitments?
  • Are there institutional structures that might be helpful in developing longer-term commitments between universities and local partners?


Calvin College Service Learning Mission Statement  Calvin College Residence Halls Community Partnership Website: http://www.calvin.edu/slc/programs/rhcp/  


Jeff Bouman Jeff Bouman is a faculty member and the Director of the Service-Learning Center at Calvin College, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  He is a graduate of Calvin College (BA Sociology), Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania (MA Student Personnel), and the University of Michigan (PhD, Education).  His research interests include: understanding ways that service-learning pedagogy affects the study abroad experience; the role of religion in the history of American higher education; the role that experience, service, and reflection play in the learning process for university students. He is deeply interested in connections between intellectual, spiritual and physical dimensions of students’ lives.

Andrew HaggertyAndrew Haggerty is the Associate Director of the Service-Learning Center at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI. Prior to this role, he worked at Calvin College as a Resident Director and at the University of Georgia as a Graduate Assistant in the Center for Leadership & Service. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia (M.Ed. in College Student Affairs Administration) and Hope College in Holland, MI (B.A. in Psychology). Andrew is particularly interested in how colleges and universities can be responsible partners in relationship with community organizations toward true reciprocity.