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Service & Leadership

At Baldwin Wallace, you can participate in thoughtfully organized service experiences that meet community needs and help foster civic responsibility. You can serve locally but also throughout the United States and even abroad. You can develop leadership skills as well as learn more about yourself. What could be more important than that?

Service Learning

Service learning is a method of teaching that provides opportunities for students to learn and develop through thoughtfully-organized service experiences that are integrated into the curriculum; meet the needs of a community; provide structured time for critical, reflective thinking; and help foster civic responsibility. It is a form of experiential learning that engages students in their own education and fosters lifelong connections between students, their communities and the world outside the classroom.


If you're interested in service and outreach, then you'll become familiar with the David & Frances Brain Center for Community Engagement (formerly the Office of Community Outreach). The center upholds the University's mission of empowering students to become contributing, compassionate citizens of an increasingly global society. The center offers a variety of ways for students to get involved and fulfill experiential learning requirements by serving at the local, national and international levels. Opportunities include one-time projects, weekly service, alternative breaks, international service, leadership positions and more.

Students gain valuable experience in leadership roles as Alternative Spring Break leaders, College Explorations coordinators, special projects team members, Super Saturday coordinators and coordinators for weekly programs.


Week of Welcome Service Experience (W.O.W.S.E.)

W.O.W.S.E. is an opportunity for first-year students to start off their BW careers with a bit of service to the community. Students spend a field day with adults at the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities' Southwest Adult Activities Center (Southwest AAC).

Discover Cleveland

Discover Cleveland is a program that provides an opportunity for new students to learn more about community service and Cleveland. The program occurs before the start of classes and BW's Weekend of Welcome. Past programs have included service at the Greater Cleveland Foodbank, Bishop Cosgrove Center, Medwish International and St. Augustine's Health Campus. Outings included a Cleveland scavenger hunt, bowling at the Corner Alley downtown, a visit to the West Side Market in Ohio City, and tasty treats at Sweet Moses Soda Fountain and Treat Shop in the Gordon Square District.


Weekly Programs

Weekly programs are an easy way for students to get involved serving the community.

Big Brothers Big Sisters: BW student "Bigs" are matched one-to-one with "Littles" with whom they spend time each Monday afternoon. Activities include helping with homework as well as some group games and crafts.

Boys and Girls Club: BW students join the Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland in their mission to "inspire and enable young people who need us most to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens." BW students develop relationships with youth at the West Side Club while helping with homework and participating in recreational activities like kickball, crafts and games.

Esperanza, Inc.: Esperanza, Inc. is dedicated to promoting Hispanic education. BW students spend Wednesday afternoons assisting middle school students with homework and enrichment activities in partnership with Esperanza, Inc.

West Side Catholic Center: BW students serve at the West Side Catholic Center's women and children's shelter, where they provide a loving environment and fun educational activities for the children while their mothers attend group sessions.

Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities: The Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities provides a wide range of services to children and adults with developmental disabilities. BW students spend time on campus with adults from the Brooklyn Adult Activities Center as well as on field trips to the mall, zoo and more.

St. Pat's (WSEM Food Center at Near West): The Food Center at Near West offers an evening meal three days per week as well as a food pantry and referral services for families and individuals in need. BW students serve dinner on Tuesday nights and offer activity options such as coloring and games for any children present at the meal.

Jacket Philanthropy Program

The Jacket Philanthropy Program is a student-led philanthropy program implemented through academic service-learning. Students in participating courses provide direct service to nonprofit organizations. In addition to their service hours, students have the opportunity to award grant funds to selected organizations.

The program focuses on three areas of need: children and youth programs; neighborhood development and revitalization; and hunger, homelessness and health issues. Students are responsible for developing an RFP (Request for Funding Proposal), preparing the grant proposal, and engaging in a group decision-making process to award the funds. Each class receives funding to distribute.

In the past five years, 266 BW students provided close to 4,000 hours of service and awarded $61,500 in grant funds.

Project Affinity

Project Affinity is an urban summer service program coordinated by the Center for Community Engagement. Through service and community events, students are able to explore social justice issues, develop a direct relationship with individuals in Brooklyn Centre and the greater Cleveland community, and gain an understanding of nonprofit work.

Alternative Break Trips

The Alternative Break experience provides BW students with the opportunity to break from the norm and spend their college break serving with other students. Each trip is led by a BW student. A BW faculty or staff advisor also participates with each trip.

Alternative Break trips are a great way to make a difference, travel to another area, learn new skills and meet people with similar interests. Alternative Break trips are about service, reflection, teamwork and fun. Each of our AB trips are planned using Breakaway's Eight Quality Components Model. Learn more about the National Alternative Break movement. In recent years, BW students have made trips to Detroit (hunger and homelessness); Chicago (mental health issues); Miami, Fla. (women's empowerment); Biloxi, Miss. (rebuilding homes and restoring hope-hurricane recovery); Kissimmee, Fla. (give kids the world); and Atlanta (youth and homelessness).

International Service Experience

The International Service Experience (ISE) is an extension of the Alternative Break program. ISE trips offer students an intense service experience. Students have taken trips to Lesotho in southern Africa, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.

Service Fair

The Service Fair is an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to learn about the many service programs offered by the Center for Community Engagement and other organizations simply by stopping by the Union lobby and visiting information tables.

Super Saturdays

Super Saturdays are one-time projects offered twice per semester, typically on Saturday morning.

Saturday of Service

Every fall, the Center for Community Engagement holds a campus-wide service day in conjunction with organizations in Berea and the Greater Cleveland area. Students, alumni, faculty and staff come together to serve with a number of different organizations.

MLK Day of Learning

The Center for Community Engagement celebrates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by inviting fourth graders from Berea City Schools to participate in a day of educational activities at BW. Reading, art and music activities related to Dr. King's life are facilitated by BW students, faculty, staff and Berea-Midpark High School students.

BW Spring Service Day

Similar to Saturday of Service, BW Spring Service Day is a large event involving BW students, faculty and staff in service to a number of organizations in the community.

Gift Drive

Each year BW students, faculty and staff make the holidays a little brighter for local children through the annual Gift Drive. Gifts are donated to children and families through local organizations.

Leave It Behind

The Center for Community Engagement collects and donates gently used clothing and nonperishable food from students as they leave campus at the end of the school year. This reduces waste and provides much needed items for local organizations.

College Explorations

The College Explorations Team (CET) offers the opportunity for groups of middle school-aged students to visit BW and learn about college. The program exposes students to a college campus at a young age to encourage them to see college as a possibility and start preparing now. BW students talk about preparing for college and taking the middle school students on a tour of the campus.


The Student Giving Council (SGC) educates the BW student body on the importance of philanthropy and giving back, while also working to raise money for the YJ4L Scholarship which benefits current BW students in financial need.

Yellow Jackets for Life (YJ4L) is a celebration of the Baldwin Wallace spirit that connects BW people to one another and to the institution. It's the spirit that welcomes us as a new student from the moment we arrive on campus and lasts throughout our lifetime.

YJ4L Gives is a big part of that connection. It's the BW student giving program that the Student Giving Council (SGC) oversees. It's all about students helping students and seeing first-hand how the power of philanthropy can change lives. Students give, whether it's $5 or $50, and it all adds up to make a difference. It's an opportunity to have a lasting impact and understand how giving back helps BW now and in the future.

The SGC is made up of the sophomore, junior and senior class officers, and an at-large group that is comprised of up to eight current BW undergraduate students who have a passion for the mission and purpose of YJ4L Gives.