Since 2011, the VSLC has offered students with the opportunity to complete a long-term commitment with a community organization during their undergraduate experience. As of Fall 2013, the VSLC has offered 3-academic credits to students who enroll in Sociology 389: Community Perspectives and Experiences and serve 100 hours during the semester. This course enables students to learn about the history of the city of Buffalo, critically analyze social justice issues, and partner with a local non-profit to further their mission in the community. Through enrolling in this course, Buffalo State students learn to identify community needs and assets, coordinate meaningful service, and enhance their interpersonal and leadership skills.
Sociology 389 students help to strengthen the mission of local non-profits through a service-learning partnership within one of the following focus areas:
1. Community Engagement
Community Engagement students assist and collaborate with non-profit community partners to meet an identified need such as volunteer recruitment, community involvement and outreach, evaluation and needs assessment, and institutionalizing new technologies. These students serve in roles with the VSLC, Alternative Break, and the Community Academic Center.
2. Community Health
Community Health students provide health, wellness, and nutrition education to youth and families in the Buffalo community through a partnerships with organizations such as Holy Cross Head Start and American Red Cross. These students create and provide health programing, conduct health-related outreach to the community, host Health Fairs, staff Blood Donation Centers, and educate pregnant refugee mothers.
Education students volunteer through the Buffalo State Community Academic Center (CAC) and provide in-class assistance and mentoring in elementary and secondary schools throughout the city, while additionally recruiting and supporting volunteer and service-learning connections. In the past, these studentshave served at Buffalo Public Schools #45 and #30, and West Buffalo Charter School.
4. Environment and Sustainability
Environment and Sustainability members provide support in the community with a number of non-profits who are dedicated to improving the community of the WNY region in terms of the environment, economy, and housing. In the past Peer Leaders have served with Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, Westminster Economic Development Initiative, and the Asarese-Matters Community Garden.
5. Homelessness and Vulnerable Populations
Homelessness and Vulnerable Populations students provide support for individuals in the Buffalo community that are experiencing homelessness, domestic violence, and food insecurity. These students spend their time with organizations that work to help individuals rebuild their lives after suffering a devastation, including the Buffalo City Mission and Friends of Night People.
6. Refugee and Immigrant Populations
Refugee and Immigrant Population students provide support for the over 8,000 members of the refugee and immigrant communities in the city. These students provide English Language instruction and support with programs such as Buffalo Beginnings, and Journey's End MAC program.
Youth students volunteer through the Buffalo State Community Academic Center (CAC) and provide after-school assistance and mentoring in programs throughout the city, while additionally recruiting and supporting volunteer and service-learning connections. In the past, these students have served at the Community Academic Center, Grant Street Neighborhood Center, First United Methodist's Game Night and Making Fishers of Men and Women.