Getting Started: Community Service Learning

Our Philosophy: Learning and Listening as the Foundation of Engagement

The first step to community engagement and becoming a critical citizen is educating yourself to local, national, and global issues by reading a variety of news sources and respectfully interacting with people around the community. 

Reading multiple news sources provides a broader perspective on the complexity of an issue. It is also highly important that you move your feet, get out in the community, and interact directly with community members around the city. As you approach and interact with community members, be sure to show respect and enter conversations with an openness and enthusiasm that values their input and opinion. 

Valuing the equality of others through learning and communication is at the core of community engagement. 

News Sources to Consider

  • Pittsburgh Post Gazette - The Pittsburgh Post Gazette is a local source for news and information on all things Pittsburgh. Get instant news about Pittsburgh liking the Post Gazette on Facebook 

  • The New York Times - The New York Times provide reliable daily national and international news. Check out this video to see how you can access the New York Times online edition for free as a Pitt student courtesy of the Student Government Board's Collegiate Readership Program. Also, be sure to like The New York Times on Facebook to get instant updates on popular articles. 

  • The Atlantic - Check out the official website of The Atlantic Magazine. This publication provides news and analysis on contemporary politics, business, culture, technology, and national and international life. Get instant updates on recent and popular Atlantic articles by liking them on Facebook

  • Atlantic Cities - Atlantic Cities provides news and articles on urban issues, lifestyle, design, transit, planning, jobs, and housing from across the globe. Be sure to check out their Pittsburgh section to find out who Pittsburgh’s Atlantic Cities bloggers are. Like them on Facebook to receive instant news. 

  • Livehood Project: Pittsburgh - The Livehood Project encourages Pittsburgh residents to re-imagine their city in the age of social media. By mapping people’s “check-in” points in Pittsburgh, viewers can see the unique interactions of the people and places that make the city unique.

Get Out There in Pittsburgh

Know Yourself

Community engagement requires that you reflect upon your role as a citizen and your responsibility as an active contributing member of society. College is a critical time to consider your values and ethics. It is also a time to reflect upon what you feel to be the unique strengths, interests, skills, and passions that you are developing as part of your Pitt education. Considering how your specific knowledge and talents can be applied to the issues and community you care about most will give you clearer insight as to how you can engage your education in the community. 

Keeping a written account of your reflection is highly recommended – being able to look back and review how you personally changed throughout your college experience will be a powerful document to possess. The process of writing forces you to articulate your internal thoughts in a way that encourages deeper, more meaningful reflections. 

Make the Connection

As you learn about communities, start to consider how the unique talents and skills that you are attaining through your education can connect to supporting the needs of a community and addressing its specific issues. 

  • Have a conversation with community members who you have built up relationships of mutual respect and determine how they think you could best be a tool for social change. 

  • Browse the UHC Community Resource Guide to find organizations in the community who relate to your specific interests. 

  • Contact faculty members at the University who may are involved in the community or issue of interest in order to learn more about their efforts and how you can get involved. 

  • Consider taking courses that will enhance your abilities to make change in the community and provide the tools that support your interests and initiatives. 

  • Check out Pitt’s wide variety of student organizations to find out if some of your peers are already engaged. 

Set up an Academic Community Engagement Advising Appointment

During your time at Pitt, schedule an appointment with the UHC Academic Community Engagement Advisor. He can answer any questions that you have, discuss your specific interests in the community, and connect you to opportunities where your academic skills and knowledge can make a positive social impact.