Serving communities deepens understanding.
An ethic of service is deeply embedded in Valparaiso University’s culture, repeatedly recognized by the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll and Washington Monthly‘s annual ranking of universities’ contributions to the public good.
About half of Valpo’s students participate in community service annually, logging more than 60,000 hours of service per academic year.
A Sampling of Community Service Projects
Created in 1996 by Valpo faculty in partnership with community leaders, Hilltop Neighborhood House meets a specific community need to empower families to succeed through education, supportive services and referrals, and advocacy and collaboration. Each year, Valpo has sent 25 or more federal work-study students to work as child-care assistants at Hilltop Neighborhood House.
Community Partnership for Health in Rural Nicaragua
Students in Valpo’s College of Nursing and Health Professions have been doing significant work to improve health care in Central America. This work has focused largely around a multi-year project to address health care needs in a rural Nicaraguan village. For the students involved, this project has been steeped in international service; they develop an understanding of culturally appropriate assessments, interventions, and evaluations for diverse populations.
Engineering Change in Tanzania
Valpo’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders has worked shoulder to shoulder with villagers in Maesera, Tanzania, to increase and improve Maesera’s supply of drinking and irrigation water. In addition to helping rehabilitate the village’s 80-year-old irrigation canal, engineering students and professors created an education program to share technical skills, ensuring that villagers will be able to maintain and repair the canal in the future.
For the past four years, Valpo students have partnered with three local elementary schools in a tutoring and mentoring program for at-risk students. The tutors come from many different majors; some are federal work-study students, others are volunteers. The Indiana Association of Teacher Education recognized this partnership as one of the state’s outstanding education partnerships.