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Service Learning

Transformative experiences through service learning.

July 2014

Imagine having the opportunity to dramatically transform the quality of life for thousands of people by helping provide clean water or teaching sustainable agricultural practices. Now, imagine doing this as a college student - and the profound impression the experience would have throughout your life.

Envision traveling halfway around the world to do this important work, possibly leaving Iowa or the U.S. for the first time, and being completely immersed in a new and very different culture, making lasting friendships in the process, and seeing sights you might not have dreamed you'd see in your lifetime. 

Since 2006, more than 70 Iowa State students have had exactly these transformative experiences through programs supported by the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods - participating as service learning students in the six-week summer program - or on longer-term assignments as interns in the Global Resource Systems program. Working alongside students from Makerere University, these Iowa State students have helped enhance the lives of literally thousands of Ugandan children and adults. They have played key roles furthering the CSRL mission by assisting small landholder farmers to achieve food security, improve family nutrition and health, and stabilize household income. and to enable students, faculty and staff to initiate and manage projects directly benefiting rural families in Uganda. 

As valuable as this program is for Iowa State students and the Ugandan communities they serve, most students need support for travel and living expenses to pursue this opportunity. We greatly appreciate the individuals who have seen the tremendous value of CSRL and the important, lasting benefits for everyone involved. Thank you for recognizing how Iowa State is uniquely positioned to improve lives around the world today - and for supporting our efforts to prepare the leaders with unique knowledge and skills needed to help solve today's complex global challenges. 

Supporting CSRL is truly a way of having a direct, multi-dimensional and long-range impact for individual Iowa State students and for global communities they will serve. Thank you so much for your interest in and support of this important program. 


Mark Westgate
Professor of Agronomy
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Iowa State University

P.S.  If you would like to make a gift to the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods, please contact Ray Klein at 515.294.3303 or