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.

 Looking to serve during COVID-19?

Click the image to access UGetConnected or review the suggestions below.  Let's do our best to remember service takes many forms while answering the question, "What is Ours to do?".

Be the good.  We're all in this together.

Promoting to respond to local community needs.

Not sure what to do?  

You're in luck!  Below are some ideas we've developed, in conjunction with La Crosse agencies and service-learning instructors, to help you take that first step toward initiating service.  


  • Always take care of your personal health and safety first - Wash hands and use hand sanitizer regularly.
  • Follow updated CDC Guidelines.  CLICK HERE for La Crosse-specific resources and updates on COVID-19. 
  • Practice social-distancing at all times
  • If you are showing any signs of illness, do not volunteer.  Stay home and self-quarantine to avoid unnecessary exposure/spread

Step 1 - Are you still in the La Crosse area?  If so, please continue searching opportunities on our UGetConnected software.  Many agencies are still hosting volunteers, but have adjusted their positions to meet new safety standards.  Others are posting in-kind or distance-based projects as they develop.  At the very least, there are 160+ agencies listed in the software with direct contact information for you to coordinate any specific projects directly with them.  If not, please begin to identify a local agency/organization you might want to support or a La Crosse-based option you could support from a distance. 

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 virtual help, while some might be focusing more on the people they serve on the front lines.  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 "How did you respond during the COVID-19 crisis?" 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 at home with school districts closed.  Could also create video content (ex: Reading books, doing math problems, etc) that adults 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 supporting 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). Happening now through UGetConnected/United Way.

  • 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 1 yearly fundraiser, thus any type of fundraising support will likely be welcomed and could be support 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 from a distance.

  • Marketing/Event Promotion: Pending precautions, many will be rescheduling canceled/postponed events. Individual agencies to support them in these ways.

  • Creating in-kind donations (ex: sewing facemasks for PPE donations, blankets for local neighbors in need, etc)  We’ll have 2-3 centralized Viterbo in-kind projects to provide some unity for everyone.  If your agency has any specific in-kind needs, please let us know as soon as possible so we can build that in. 

  • Local Election Support: Supporting voting efforts (distance-based or in-person) wherever you are currently located, helping to solve many of the same issues. 
  • Blood Drive Support: Several organizations project a blood shortage throughout this 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 first annual 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.