Learning Through Service

Based upon its commitment to promote the Christian ethic of service and to serve the Appalachian region, Berea College created the Center for Excellence in Learning Through Service (CELTS) to educate students for leadership in service and social justice. Established in 2000, CELTS coordinates the campus’ student-led, community-service programs and supports service-learning in the academic curriculum. CELTS builds upon Berea’s commitment to develop service-oriented leaders for Appalachia and beyond through student-led volunteer programs, including the Bonner Scholars Program and ten other programs focused on specific populations or community needs. Through their labor positions, students lead these service programs and coordinate activities including tutoring children, mentoring at-risk teens, visiting elderly hospital patients, helping to build houses for low-income families, providing English-language tutoring, organizing the annual communitywide Hunger Hurts Food Drive and the Empty Bowls fundraiser for local food banks, and taking on environmental and social-justice issues. CELTS also coordinates and supports service-learning in the academic curriculum. In service-learning courses, students apply academic knowledge to address community issues while developing their academic skills, sense of civic responsibility, critical reflective thinking skills, and commitment to the community. Service-learning courses are taught each term in a variety of departments at Berea College. Designated service-learning courses meet the Active Learning Experience (ALE) requirement in the General Education Program. (See Opportunities Common to Many Fields of Study for more information on Service-Learning Courses.)