Community Service

Community Service

Community Service

Photo by Nate Parsons


Social justice is one of Oberlin’s core values. Many students choose to come here because of the college’s long-standing reputation of service to and with the local community. Each year, more than 1,500 students participate in some form of community service. Some of these programs combine service with learning through credit-bearing courses that integrate either community-based research or community service as pathways to help students achieve the academic learning goals.

The campus clearinghouse for many of these projects is the Bonner Center for Service and Learning (BCSL), whose staff networks with more than 200 community organizations, schools, and government agencies. The BCSL staff develops programs, projects, and opportunities that encourage meaningful student engagement. Our students also initiate outreach programs themselves:

  • Auntie Na's Harvesting Unity, a Detroit-based all-purpose community outreach program where Oberlin College students volunteer in the computer lab, music room, and in various outdoor landscaping projects;
  • Girls and Boys in Motion, a local after-school tutoring and mentoring program led by Oberlin College students that introduces children to integrative movement and creative activities;
  • Get with the Program, a local nonprofit that exposes children in kindergarten to fifth grade to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields through curricular activities, field trips, and projects.

BCSL programming includes the Community Service Work Study Program (CSWSP), the Ninde Scholars, and the Bonner Scholars Program.

A chief goal of the Bonner Center is to help students recognize the benefits of a civically engaged community, one that recognizes and respects the cultures of others and acknowledges community service as a bold and innovative approach to learning.

While the BCSL connects students to community organizations, students often involve themselves in Oberlin Community Services. This responsive community organization provides direct assistance, referrals, and other services to Oberlin and southern Lorain County residents and groups that need help meeting such basic needs as food, clothing, and toiletries. 

If you are interested in community service, visit the Bonner Center for Service and Learning,145 W. Lorain St.

You also may check out one or more of our community partner agencies to learn ways you may contribute your time and talents to the community at large.

Community Partner Agencies: