Notre Dame College is engaging its entire campus to integrate active class learning with community volunteer projects—and connect both with common themes—in its first Semester of Service.

The initiative launched as a 16-week program this spring 2016 semester of the academic year and continues officially through April 27. The model features unified, campus-wide service and study to mobilize students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni and friends of the College through community-based learning.

“Student service learning is a high impact educational practice that promotes student success,” said Tracey Meilander, assistant professor of biology, and co-director of community-based learning for the College.

The links among academic and co-curricular activities, including campus ministry and student affairs programming, are inspired each month by a common concept that corresponds to the College’s mission as well as current events in communities.

These theme months are:

  • January: Peace and Tolerance in recognition of the life and work of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • February: Diversity in celebration of Black History Month and National Freedom Day
  • March: Health and Wellness in awareness of the needs for the health and safety of all
  • April: Stewardship of the Earth in celebration of Earth Day

Highlights of campus-wide engagement for Peace and Tolerance in January include the premiere of theConversations on Sacred Texts series sponsored by the College’s Abrahamic Center and the City of South Euclid.

A showing of the film “Selma” followed by a moderated discussion by R. Eric Matthews Jr., assistant dean of academic affairs and assistant professor of history and political science, is slated to headline Diversity activities in February. Notre Dame’s Scholars of Color student organization also is expected to contribute to an ongoing Division of Education project providing tutoring and mentoring to at-risk students at a local elementary school.

Health and Wellness in March is expected to be marked with service activities ranging from collections of foodand other needed items to a class on victimology and a visit to cheer hospitalized children with cancer. Volunteer opportunities also are being planned with the Hospice of the Western Reserve and other health agencies.

In addition to a recycling and repurposing sale in residence halls and a demonstration of campus composting, programming for Stewardship of the Earth in April will feature a cleanup day for campus and the nearby Nine Mile Creek. Research from a Wildlife Ecology course in connection with Cleveland MetroParks also is on the agenda.

The Notre Dame Semester of Service is a collaboration among the College’s Office of Community-Based Learning, Academic Affairs, Campus Ministry and Student Affairs.

As part of this initiative, the College also is developing a Notre Dame Day of Service, to beautify the campus and conduct a volunteer project in the community, and a “Day of Shadowing” during which students will spend time on the job with professionals in careers of interest before they engage in internships.

The Semester of Service aims to provide regular, meaningful, community-based learning activities throughout the academic term to connect students to their community, increase persistence and completion and inspire them to pursue service-related vocations.

The American Association of Colleges & Universities recognizes community-based learning and service learning as a high-impact educational practices that are helpful to many students as they learn and develop, according to Meilander.

The programming supports the College’s “Preparing Students for a Life of Value and Service” Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE) grant program and its participation in the Higher Learning Commission Academy for Student Persistence and Completion.

Members of the campus and extended communities are encouraged to share their service experiences this semester and related images via Twitter (@NotreDameOhio), using #NDCservice for all posts.

Additional information is forthcoming.

About Notre Dame College

For almost a century, Notre Dame College has educated a diverse population in the liberal arts for personal, professional and global responsibility. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the College has grown strategically to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of students and the dramatic changes in higher education. But it has never lost sight of its emphasis on teaching students not only how to make a good living but also how to live a good life.

Today, the College offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 disciplines plus a variety of master’s degrees, certification programs and continuing and professional development programs for adult learners on campus and online. Notre Dame College offers NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletic programs for men and women and is located in a picturesque residential neighborhood just 25 minutes from the heart of Cleveland. Hallmarks of the Notre Dame experience include stimulating academics, personalized attention of dedicated faculty and staff, and small class sizes.

Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. For further information contact Brian Johnston, chief communications officer, at 216.373.5252 or