Providing Service-Learning Students with an Orientation
Service-learning students need an orientation including:
- An introduction to the agency, its Mission Statement as well as a historical background.
- A tour of the agency (ie. the physical layout)
- An explanation of the program (goals and objectives).
- A description of the client base, including numbers of clients served, socio-economic and other demographic data, and political subdivisions served.
- Community issues the program addresses and why there is a need for the service.
- A discussion of the students’ role, including specific tasks and specific benefits to the agency, specific importance to the population serviced, and to the community in general.
- Any specific policies and procedures.
- Will a background check be needed and how is this completed?
- An introduction to the staff. Although persons who will be supervising the students should attend, it is important the students be introduced to all agency personnel with whom contact will be made.
- Exchange contact information and discuss the best way to communicate with the agency and project supervisor.
- Discuss the amount of supervision the students should expect. Will they see the supervisor daily? Will they be expected to do an amount of work on their own?
- A handbook or other written materials should be distributed to the service-learner during the orientation.
- Review confidentiality policies. Are pictures or video allowed?
- Establishment of a start date for students to begin their service hours.
- Where do students park when at the agency? Is there a cost associated with parking? Emphasize the student’s responsibility in getting to and from the service site.
- Discuss risk and safety guidelines. Training students in safety procedures, potential dangers, and the risk management policies of your organization.
- Explain what students should do if harassment occurs. Whom do they contact?
- Review accident procedures at site and what to do if a student or client is hurt.
- If appropriate tell the students about yourself and how/why you work with the agency. Share some of your positive experiences to engage the students and make a personal connection with each of them.
Adapted from Boise State Service-Learning.