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Students Serve the City

Student Leaders for Service takes PSU's motto seriously

Katie Cox's pre-med education at Portland State University didn't start or stop in her science classrooms. Everything she learned in textbooks came alive in the eyes, hearts, and medical records of Special Olympics athletes.

Cox is one of 190 students who have gained leadership skills through an intensive community-based learning experience in PSU's award-winning Student Leaders for Service program.

The students in the program work 10 hours a week at civic organizations and coordinate other PSU students, faculty, and staff to volunteer on service projects throughout the Portland area. The service program grew out of PSU's commitment to community engagement that includes Senior Capstone Courses and work with partners all over the world.

Our goal is to engage more PSU students by organizing meaningful community-based learning opportunities and recruiting volunteers from all over campus.

—Emily Hoffer, Program Coordinator

Students in the program have recruited more than 8,000 students and community volunteers for 85 community organizations since it started in 1999.

Cox says her experience helping Special Olympics athletes in Multnomah County complete their medical forms and doctor's visits confirmed her plans to apply to medical school.

"It's definitely brought my studies to life," Cox says.

Upcoming Service Projects

MLK Day of Service

Join about 1,300 students from 10 colleges and universities on Jan. 17 for a day of service in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. at community organizations throughout the Portland area, starting with a rally at PSU.

Alternative Spring Break

During the week of March 20, students will build homes, serve meals, and learn sustainable gardening techniques in Bellingham, Wash.; San Francisco, Calif.; Grass Valley, Calif.; and here in Portland.