As a core value, community engagement reflects the mission of USD, and embraces the Catholic moral and social tradition by its commitment to serve with compassion, to foster peace, work for justice, and prepare leaders dedicated to ethical conduct and compassionate service. Through reciprocal community-based learning, the Center for Community Service-Learning (CSL) engages USD students, faculty, staff, and alumni to learn and act in partnership with the community, and make life-long commitments to promote social change and justice.
Active community-based engagement provides the University of San Diego community an opportunity to intentionally engage in partnerships that link the learning in the classroom to the wisdom of the community. The goal is to help students become “active learners, bringing skills and information from community work and integrating them with the theory and curriculum of the classroom to produce new knowledge.” (Mitchell, 2008).
Center programs include course-based service-learning, student led co-curricular service, Youth to College educational access, faculty development, community development, and a campus-wide Social Issues Committee. CSL is also part of the USD Changemaker Hub committed to creating an ecosystem of positive social change.
While USD works in various communities around the globe a significant amount of public service occurs in the immediate community of Linda Vista. USD is part of the Linda Vista community where over 24 languages are spoken in a four-mile area. Over 80 undergraduate and graduate students are involved in Linda Vista through programs that see students lead community-organizing efforts, serve as mentors and tutors, and provide community-based health care.
Throughout San Diego CSL has over 50 community partnerships with USD students participating in a range of programs that include; mentoring detainees in Juvenile Hall, sharing stories with migrant workers, participating in the census and counting homeless individuals, gardening in numerous organic community gardens, documenting the oral histories of local leaders, and consulting with local microfinance projects.
CSL also offers local and global immersion experience which have students dive deep into a community by providing a framework to nourish personal development, foster community engagement, strengthen organizations, and promote global dialogue.
Immersions programs occur in Linda Vista, Tijuana, Nogales, Chiapas, Guatemala, Jamaica, Africa, China, and New Orleans.