Generate Community Involvement

This page was developed as a synthesis of lessons learned by participants in InTeGrate program models and is part of an extended set of InTeGrate resources on increasing the diversity of students learning about the Earth.

Using community-centered activities creates the necessary environment for awareness, planning, and change. By taking ownership of community environmental challenges, partnerships between community members, students, faculty, and institutions can be empowered to find mutually agreeable solutions that benefit each and all of the parties.

Employ Service Learning

Service Learning empowers students to effect positive change and serve as citizen leaders in a global community through civic engagement, integrated learning, and reflective practices. Service Learning and other forms of active, experiential learning support many of the outcomes InTeGrate seeks to promote.

Savannah State University
The Savannah program team, in conjunction with students, developed a series of service learning project options that can be engaged through classes, clubs, and other events/activities. Additionally, by maintaining a journal of the projects completed and who was involved, future activities can shaped using lessons learned and as projects are completed, the running roster of participants will be easier to acknowledge.

InTeGrate: Service Learning »

Utilize Field Trips

Enhance outreach efforts to local high schools and community colleges through presentations and field activity experiences to recruit additional students. Field experiences are a tried and true way of getting students excited about geoscience topics. They are a great way for students to interact with faculty and local community experts around issues that affect them. Virtual field trips can expand the usefulness of field experiences beyond those able to take part at a particular time and place.

University of Northern Colorado
One of the UNC team's primary goals was to enhance outreach to high school students using field trips. In the first year of their efforts they saw a substantial increase in the number and diversity of entering freshman to the geoscience program.
Savannah State University
Student fieldtrips on various themes: Food deserts and using community gardens to improve food security in underserved areas; Waterway clean-ups to discuss storm water issues and; GIS Day in partnership with USGS or other entities to map areas of concern (food deserts, proximity to harmful industrial exposure, underserved communities, etc.).
When using field trips as a recruitment tool, don't forget that there are students with very different levels of physical ability but that there are ways of making these experiences fun and productive for everyone. Geology for everyone: Making the field accessible (Atchison, C.L. and B.H. Gilley, August 2015, Earth) describes the experience of putting together fully accessible field experiences in conjunction with the GSA annual meeting. The authors have many lessons to share on how students with additional challenges can still take part in the excitement of the field.

Involve Local Industry and Government

Many local employers and government agencies need people with expertise in geoscience. Bringing a diverse cross section of these people in as guest speakers to talk to students is a good way of showcasing the career options available. Showing students that there are pathways available to them via the geosciences is a powerful way to recruit students into further study about sustainability and Earth science.

University of Illinois - Chicago
The UIC team featured interviews with diverse alumni (gender, ethnicity/nationality, discipline, etc) still residing in the area as a way of connecting students with people who look like them that are engaged in local industries.
Mercer University
Mercer team linked our workshop to a state-wide industry-led initiative and offered it to Mercer alumni and students. The link to the state-wide initiative helped us gain interest from potential participants. The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) annually promotes "Georgia STEM Day" in late Spring.
Wittenberg UniversityAs a consequence of planning to support community project development across the curriculum, the team expanded activities with partners in existing courses yielding other opportunities that students gained including internships, professional networking, and land or instrumentation resources. Now they are specifically working to identify ways to maximize gains for students and partners.

Program Themes