Learning through Service

Established in 2000 and continuing Berea’s long history of student leadership in service and outreach with our community, the Center for Excellence in Learning through Service (CELTS) educates students for leadership in service and social justice. CELTS  coordinates the campus’ student-led, community-service programs and supports service-learning in the academic curriculum. The work of CELTS supports Berea’s great commitments to promote the Christian ethic of service and to serve the Appalachian region.

Berea College students serve in collaboration with community-based organizations through  the Bonner Scholars Program and  through CELTS-based service programs focused on specific populations or community needs. Through their labor positions, students lead these service programs and coordinate activities including tutoring and mentoring children and teens, leading special programs for residents of long-term care facilities, helping to build houses for low-income families, providing English-language tutoring, organizing the annual community-wide Hunger Hurts Food Drive and the Empty Bowls fundraiser for local food banks, promoting student voter engagement, and taking on environmental and human rights issues.

CELTS also coordinates and supports service-learning in the academic curriculum. Service-learning is a pedagogy through which students engage in projects in collaboration with community-based organizations, as part of assigned coursework. These projects allow students to achieve academic learning goals by working with local leaders to address community issues. Critical reflection facilitates learning by helping students to draw connections between the service and learning experiences. Service-learning also facilitates the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and resources between Berea College and 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 curriculum. (See Opportunities Common to Many Fields of Study for more information on Service-Learning Courses.)