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Wilfrid Laurier University Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing
October 26, 2016
Canadian Excellence

Monika Mistry

Community Service-Learning, Program

Laurier student Monika Mistry’s “aha!” moment came in her second year of university. She was watching children engage in cooperative play, just like she had learned in her developmental psychology class.

“I couldn’t believe I was seeing all the things I learned in the classroom in real life,” she says. “It all made sense. And seeing the need that exists in the community made me realize how much we take for granted.”

Most people gain this kind of insight through their work experience after graduation. But for thousands of Laurier students, the opportunity comes much sooner, thanks to the Laurier Centre for Service-Learning volunteer placement program.

Since its inception in 2006, the program, which supplements academic learning with volunteering, has placed more than 1,600 students from 32 courses in 229 community organizations. In total, students have logged more than 33,000 volunteer hours.

The program allows community organizations to offer more programs for those in need, and for students it develops personal growth — more than half the students who complete CSL placements say the experience has influenced their career decisions.

“In talking to students, the highest learning concept they feel they have developed through CSL and learning to reflect is self esteem,” says associate director Dr. Mark Baetz. “It doesn’t get much better than that.”