Service Immersion and Service-Learning

noun    ser·vice-learn·ing \ˈsər-vəs lərn-ing\

Definition: Service-Learning is a method of teaching that consists of student participation in a service activity that meets an identified community need, has a connection to course content, and includes continuous reflection emphasizing the learning involved in the experience.

Service Immersion - Spring Break 2024

Group photo of 2020 spring break service group in front of bus.
Spring break 2020 service group photo

 Interested in Service this Spring Break? Sign up for the service immersion experience to Milwaukee hosted by community engagement and campus ministry, Sunday March 10–Friday March 15. Applications were due Feb. 5, 2024.

*Due to low registration, this trip was canceled Spring 2024.* Submit suggestions for future Service Immersion experiences to 

All majors are welcome to apply. Participants will serve with 6-8 different non-profits, build connections with guests and non-profit staff, and reflect on how to serve the common good in a variety of ways. 

**An informational session about our trip was held on Thursday, Nov. 16 in BRC 124 from 3–4 p.m.**

Click here for an overview of our journey from Casa Romero Retreat Center.

*Why should you care about this?*

  • Gain greater awareness of social issues through input, reflection, prayer, service, agency visits, and human conversation.  
  • Explore interesection of connected social justice themes: hunger, homelessness, poverty, immigration, our environment, racism, and more. 
  • Explore & consider yourself while making connections with people in our group and guests we meet throughout the week. 
  • Apply lessons learned to our inter-econnected local community and beyond.
  • Carry peoples' stories with you as you work to be part of solutions serving the common good in your professional and personal journey.
  • Put our theme of the year into action: Dare to Wonder. 

Click here to read the impact of our US/Mexico Service Immersion experience - Spring Break 2020

Lumen Article: US Border Service Trip

Looking to do some good?

Step 1 - Are you in the La Crosse area?  If so, please continue searching for opportunities on our UGetConnected software.  Many agencies are hosting volunteers and others are posting in-kind or virtual-based projects.  There are 200+ agencies listed in the software with direct contact information for you to coordinate any specific projects directly with them.  

Step 2 - Find something you are passionate about:  This is an opportunity for you to connect with an agency that has the same vision and supports the same causes you are invested in.  Some may be in a better position to accept help, while some might be focusing more on the people they serve on the front lines.  Find causes that connect to your core values AND solve community issues through existing support organizations.  Bottom line: Nothing will happen if we don't reach out and initiate!

Step 3 - Options to Pursue:  Below are some ideas to get you started, but all will require follow up on your end.  Think of this as a hands-on service project management opportunity answering the question "What is Ours to Do?" While all of these may not apply to every agency, this should be a good base to get your creative juices flowing!

  • Local Online/In-Person Tutoring: supporting local children from home through educator-driven projects.  Could also create video content (ex: Reading books, doing math problems, etc) that adults/educators could utilize at home.

  • Advocacy Projects: research agency, create/implement advocacy plan for agency of choice based on agency needs.  This could look like a social media awareness plan, a plan to advocate for policy changes to legislators, or even support grant-writing efforts to secure future resources.

  • Letter/Electronic Socializing: Aimed at nursing home residents on lock-down, but could also extend to other populations/modes of communication (pen pals with students not in school, isolated prison populations, etc). 

  • General administrative support for agency-specific projects/tasks: connect directly with agencies and ask where their greatest needs are for electronic support.

  • On-going fundraising campaign support: Many agencies have had to cancel their fundraisers, thus any type of fundraising support will likely be welcomed and could be supported from a distance (coordinated social medial exposure, cold-calling, mailings, etc)

  • Assessment/evaluations of agency-specific programs/services: Many agencies are looking to better incorporate data/assessment into their programs.  This could be an opportunity to help with that to better serve their guests, employees, community, or other stakeholders.

  • Marketing/Event Promotion: Individual agencies always need support for ongoing events.  Always try UGetConnected first!

  • Creating in-kind donations (ex: sewing donations, blankets for local neighbors in need, etc)  Reach out to see if an agency has any specific in-kind needs and coordinate a donation collection effort. 

  • Local Election Support: Supporting voting efforts (distance-based or in-person) wherever you are currently located, helping to solve many of the same issues our local non-profits are facing every day. 
  • Blood Drive Support: Several organizations project a blood shortage throughout the pandemic, so proactively engaging in this valuable nation-wide service could be beneficial. 

Need additional support?  Please email Colin at to brainstorm options that may work for you and your situation!


Thanks to all who joined us on April 26 for our Service-Learning Showcase


2017 Service-Learning Showcase Schedule and Map

Building Service-Learning into Every Student's Education

VUSM 300: Serving the Common Good

Following in the Franciscan tradition and Viterbo value of service, all Viterbo students are required to complete the core curriculum mission course “Serving the Common Good.” This course (VUSM 3XX) gives students hands-on experience in civic engagement that connects back to the material learned in the course. Students participate in activities designed to foster the common good while reflecting on their values and practices of community, servant leadership, and collaboration. Partnerships and collaborations with community partners allow students to demonstrate a developing competency of community engagement and civic responsibility.