Service Learning Courses

UNIV 492 Local

UNIV 492 Local is a 2-credit hour, online course that requires 40 hours of service work and fulfills Core Goal 5.2. Service hours must be done in the local U.S. community where the student resides or attends KU.

Course content of UNIV 492 Local deepens students' understanding of service work by introducing knowledge and skills needed to carry out effective and ethical volunteer efforts. Students are asked to critically examine the benefits and potential harm of service, consider social constructs of power and privilege, become familiar with the nonprofit sector, research systemic causes for specific social issues, define how they can act as an ally, and critically reflect on self and society.

UNIV 492 Alternative Breaks

This section of UNIV 492 is offered only to students who have been accepted to and placed in a week-long or longer Alternative Breaks service trip. Enrollment in this course is done at the first of the student-run Alternative Breaks class meetings. To learn more about upcoming trips and to apply for an Alternative Break, go to the website

The course content of UNIV 492 begins with the premise that community service is a valuable response to the social problems that we face in today's society and that understanding of self, knowledge of social issues, and commitment to service are essential for effective engagement in communities. Students will be introduced to existing responses to social problems and will work to formulate their own individual and collective responses. Alternative Breaks works to motivate college students to become active and present members of their own communities, to recognize the different needs of local, national, rural and urban communities, and to engender an understanding of how to be involved in the betterment of society.

UNIV 492 International

This course will provide students with an overview of issues in international service learning for environmental conservation, sustainable development in the context of ecotourism, international partnership building, and systems thinking to tackle global issues through local action. While in Costa Rica, students will explore connections to these themes through experience and service learning. Site visits include San Jose, Monteverde Cloud Forest, and the sea turtle conservation project, which takes place at the Conservation Station and Sea Turtle Research and Ecosystems in Playa Montezuma. Students will develop projects in areas such as reforestation, cleaning of solid waste into green areas, causes of river and coastline decline, conservation and protection and protection of sea turtles, and environmental education and community improvement. In addition to these in-country educational experiences, UNIV 492 will have pre-trip and post-trip online course components.