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Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning

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Community-based learning, Service learning, Critical pedagogy, Higher Education -- Social aspects, Service learning -- United States -- Evaluation, College students -- Services for


We may define and prioritize them differently, but few would deny that our human community is facing intractable problems at local, national, and global scales. We call on higher education institutions (HEIs) around the world to work collectively and with strategic intent and action to use sustainability as an organizing principle to focus service-learning and community engagement (SLCE) activities on the flourishing of our planet and its diverse species.

In the United Nations report, Our Common Future, sustainable development (the future-oriented view of “sustainability”) was defined by World Commission on the Environment and Development members as “the kind of development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs” (Brundtland, WCED, 1990, p. 16). Since then, scholars and practitioners have focused efforts on what has been commonly known as sustainability’s “three E’s”: (a) environment; (b) economy, and (c) social equity (Edwards, 2005). Recently, education has been recognized as a vehicle for achieving sustainability and serves as a critical “fourth E” (UNESCO, 2016).



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