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 maintains contact with more than 200 community organizations, schools, and government agencies. The BCSL staff develops programs, projects, and other opportunities that encourage meaningful student engagement. Our students also initiate outreach programs themselves:
- Immerse Yourself in Service (IYS), an organization that mobilizes Oberlin students to do community service in other communities during academic breaks;
- Tezdek a Jewish student group dedicated social justice and community service;
- Murray Ridge-Oberlin College Alliance, a nonprofit organization that provides volunteer opportunities to work with the developmentally disabled population.
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. Oberlin students also volunteer as math tutors for area fourth-graders through America Counts, one of the 20 CSWSP sites.
If you are interested in community service, make sure you visit the Bonner Center for Service and Learning. Our office is at 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:
- Oberlin Community Services
- Oberlin Early Childhood Center
- New Agrarian Center
- Oberlin Heritage Center