Community Service-Learning is an experiential pedagogy that integrates community engaged work, social justice education and critical reflection. Our programs and workshops will help you better understand your identity, power and privilege; the challenges and solutions in social, economic and environmental justice work; and your role in social change.
Community Service-Learning endeavours to cultivate your community mindset—a set of attitudes that value the knowledge and expertise of communities, broaden your notion of partnership and relationship-building, and orient your personal, academic and professional lives to serve social change.
Community Service-Learning helps connect students to community—both a community of practice with like-minded students and a community of action with members of the wider community. Through engagement and action, you will develop and deepen your sense of identity, purpose and belonging, and become aware of your agency and capacity to contribute to social change.
We believe that life on Earth is interconnected and interdependent, and that we each have the responsibility and capacity to create safer, healthier and more equitable communities, and to take care of the land, water and air. The University of Manitoba also has an obligation to serve communities, and we believe our impact is greatest when we support the visions of resource-scarce communities.
We believe that the real and pressing challenges that we all face today—from the myriad of negative effects of climate change to finding ways to move toward truth and reconciliation in our lives and institutions—cannot be addressed as individuals. Collective action is needed.
What does collective action look like? As members of a culturally diverse, globalized and colonized society, it is essential that we understand, relate and work together in anti-oppressive and decolonial ways. We need to cultivate self-awareness and compassion, identify and develop our gifts, and find ways to build solidarity and contribute to community vision.
In order to unlearn limiting values and relearn or develop healthier ways of relating to each other, we need to learn with and from communities where anti-oppressive and decolonial values are not only recognized and practiced but often part of long-standing traditions, cultures and knowledges. In Canada, this means valuing First Nations, Métis and Inuit ways of knowing and being.
We believe that working with communities involves an active commitment that goes beyond the traditional, institutional understanding of partnership and reciprocity. We respond to our community partners’ requests for “whole relationships”— we build and maintain relationships without the expectation of a partnership, relate to people as whole individuals and provide holistic supports to enable good relations and project success.
We are accountable to our partners and their communities. We understand our place and our responsibility to work in good ways within these relationships and spaces. We work with communities and follow their lead to determine the direction and form of our work, from student learning and community engagement to project implementation and evaluation.
We believe that the scale of collective action needed transcends the separation of local and global communities. Our responsibility to each other and the home we share goes beyond political and geographic borders. We also believe that as inhabitants of this land and members of Canadian society, we have special obligations to support and work with local communities. In the end, local and global communities are inextricably connected by virtue of living in the same ecosystem, and we are stronger and more effective when work together.
We endeavor to work in culturally appropriate ways to ensure that the students and communities we work with have a culturally safe experience. We do this by understanding and respecting codes of conduct and cultural protocols established by the communities, and by honouring culturally-based approaches to community development and pedagogies that meet the distinct needs of students and community partners.
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