SOIL 205 Service-Learning Projects

SOIL 205 Service-Learning Projects

Service-learning projects that occur through SOIL 205 show how experiential learning is incorporated into a major CAS class with ripple effects going out into the community. 

Service-learning is an educational strategy and form of experiential learning that combines community service with meaningful learning and reflection. Studies have demonstrated that service-learning has positive effects on students’ attitudes, social behaviors, and academic performance [1]. Benefits have also been noted for communities and academic institutions. Experiential learning is explicitly highlighted as a component of the Student Success Initiative of the College of Agricultural Science and OSU’s Strategic Plan 4.0.

Each term during the standard academic year, students in Soil Science (SOIL 205) are required to participate in a service-learning project.  Students self-select the projects they want to participate in based on their availability and interests.  Each project has approximately six student participants who contribute four hours of service.

Prior to the start of each term, the service-learning coordinator for the class works in collaboration with community partners to schedule projects that address community-identified needs.  We then provide support to students in meeting their group mates, understanding the learning objectives of experiential education, and reflecting critically on their experiences and how those connect to class concepts.  Projects occur throughout the term and as the quarter wraps up, students present their experiences through a poster session that involves students doing "lightning talk" presentations as groups move around the room. Student feedback about these opportunities has been really positive with students reflecting that it helps them get outside the campus community, connect more deeply with other students, make connections for future internships and jobs, see the relevance of the material they are learning, and contribute positively to the wider community.

Those engaged in service-learning have had a substantial collaborative impact throughout the community! Since winter 2013, when a part-time service-learning coordinator was hired for SOIL 205:

  • 3,856 students have engaged in at least 4 hours of service-learning through a CSS or SUS course
  • Approximately 15,424 hours of service have been provided to the community
  • 659 different projects have been coordinated on-campus, in Corvallis, and with surrounding rural communities
  • 49 programs/organizations have been collaborators

The following CSS faculty members, past and present, have successfully incorporated service-learning projects into their SOIL 205 courses: Will Allen, James Cassidy, Meg Mobley, Julie Pett-Ridge, and Kim Townsend

[1] Celio, C. I., Durlak, J. & Dymnicki, A. (2011). A Meta-Analysis of the Impact of Service-Learning on Students. Journal of Experiential Education, 34(2), 164–181.


Prepared by: Deanna Lloyd, Senior Instructor & Service-Learning Coordinator

Updated: June 2022

Program Coordinator

There has been a service-learning coordinator for this class since 2013, but a new development in the soil service-learning story is that the small amount of funding that is needed for that position was recently cut.  We are striving to raise funds to continue supporting that position.  The logistics of service-learning coordination would be too much for an instructor on top of their teaching load and thus the class would lose that high-impact experiential learning if the coordinator position was no longer supported.  We have created a Beavs Give fundraising campaign but are also looking at donor(s) to contribute to an endowment.

Beavs Give


Student Testimonial

A student shared about the power of service-learning for her education.


A group of students doing riparian restoration at the headwaters of Dunawi Creek on Bald Hill.

A group of students doing riparian restoration at the headwaters of Dunawi Creek on Bald Hill.

Student groups working out at the Corvallis Environmental Center's SAGE Garden.

Student group working at the Corvallis Environmental Center's SAGE Garden.

Student groups working out at the Corvallis Environmental Center's SAGE Garden.

Student group working at the Corvallis Environmental Center's SAGE Garden.


Audubon Hesthavn Nature Center • Benton Soil & Water Conservation District • Bioswales Research • City of Corvallis • Corvallis Bicycle Collective • Corvallis Community Children’s Centers • Corvallis Environmental Center’s Avery House Nature Center • Corvallis Environmental Center’s Farm to School Program • Corvallis Environmental Center’s SAGE Garden • Corvallis Parks & Recreation • Corvallis Sustainability Coalition’s Water Action Team • Corvallis Waldorf School • Crescent Valley High School • Community Services Consortium Youth Garden • Dry Farming Collective • Emerson Vineyards • Farmland LP/Fern Road Farm • Forestry and Natural Resources Extension Program • Greenbelt Land Trust • Heart-2-Heart Farms • Hoover Elementary Family Science Night • Jefferson Elementary School • Keepers of the Creek • Leonard Street Community Garden • Linn-Benton Food Share • Linus Pauling Institute’s Healthy Youth Program • Living Cemetery Project • Lupe’s Community Garden • Marys River Watershed Council • Memorial Middle School • Monroe Sharing Gardens • Oak Creek Center for Urban Horticulture • OSU Center for Civic Engagement • OSU Crop & Soil Science Department • OSU Dining Services • OSU HRSC Food Pantry • OSU McDonald-Dunn Research Forest • OSU Organic Growers Club • OSU Sheep Center • OSU Small Farms Conference • OSU Student Sustainability Initiative • OSU Sustainability Office • Produce for the People • Stone Soup Soup Kitchen • Talking Waters Garden • Terresterial Ecosystems Research Associates • Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex

The College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University is Oregon's principal source of knowledge relating to agricultural and food systems, and a major source of knowledge regarding environmental quality, natural resources, life sciences, and rural economies and communities worldwide. The College provides undergraduate and graduate education leading to baccalaureate and graduate degrees, and extended education programs throughout Oregon and beyond. Its research programs create knowledge to solve problems and to build a knowledge base for the future. It is a source of information and expertise in integrating and applying knowledge with benefits that are felt in domestic and international settings.