Transpersonal Service Learning

Service learning is a method of teaching whereby students learn and develop through active participation in organized service experiences. These experiences take place in their communities and are integrated into academic curriculum, meet the needs of a community, provide structured time for reflection and help foster civic responsibility.

Service learning in the MA Ecopsychology program at Naropa is called Transpersonal Service Learning and focuses on personal transformation through service, the cultivation of wisdom and compassion, understanding and working with suffering, managing stress and burn-out in care giving, and the transpersonal aspects of human development. We also emphasize the reciprocal nature of learning and encourage our students to approach their service with a “beginner’s mind.”

Over the last year at Naropa University, a definition of service-learning has developed through the collaborative work of many people.

“At Naropa University, service-learning is an intentionally designed course or program that joins wisdom and insight with skillful action by engaging and empowering students, faculty, and community members in compassionate selfless service.”

Examples of Placements

Examples of recently agreed upon placements include the following organizations:

  • teaching art and ecopsychology classes at a small college in Wisconsin
  • organizing earth institute courses in remote British Columbia, Canada
  • facilitating deep ecology workshops in Canada
  • assisting in a wilderness rites of passage course for teens
  • helping out with relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
  • working in the prison system and helping families in Singapore
  • coaching young inner city kids in a reading program for underprivileged kids
  • working in a hospital for sick children
  • developing a web site for soldier wellness of body, mind and spirit
  • a nonprofit radio station
  • a hospice
  • a bereavement center
  • a church program that teaches meditation and prayer
  • a wilderness guiding/rites of passage program for teens
  • a yoga training center
  • an adolescent treatment center
  • a hospital

As long as the placement is not clinical in nature, the possibilities for service are endless and we welcome creative proposals in this area.