Service learning is a structured learning experience that combines academic preparation, collaborative relationships, community engagement, and critical reflection.

Service learning is an educational opportunity where students learn the attitudes, values, and skills to be a life-long community-engaged practitioner. Service learning is geared toward under-served communities, and includes communication and collaboration with a community partner, both before and after the activity. The purpose of service learning is for students to gain an appreciation for the strengths and needs of their community, and to find ways to meet those needs as a life-long practice.


For Loma Linda University, being involved in our local and global community is a priority, our duty, our civic responsibility.

So LLU is making a bold statement: Earning a college degree from LLU means being academically prepared, culturally aware, and community engaged. Beginning in the 2018-2019 academic year, all degree programs (associate through doctoral) will provide at least one approved Service learning course.

The vision is that students go back and forth in a cycle: applying what they learn in the classroom to a real need in the community, then using their experiences from service as a basis for further learning in the course, and back again, even into the student clinical environment, employment, and the student’s personal way of life.

Guiding Principles

The National Youth Leadership Council provides a multitude of principles that guide service learning (2014). LLU has decided upon four of these principles to guide our service learning practice:

  • Service learning has sufficient duration and intensity, which allows the students to explore the community’s needs and meet specified outcomes.
  • Service learning is intentionally used as an instructional strategy to meet learning goals of the course and to enrich what is taking place in the classroom.
  • Service learning partnerships are collaborative, mutually beneficial, and address community needs.
  • Service learning incorporates multiple challenging reflection activities that are ongoing and that prompt deep thinking and analysis about oneself and one’s relationship to society.
"At first I didn't want to volunteer for 10 hours due to the rigorous amounts of schoolwork. Now, I am so glad and thankful for such a life changing experience.”