Service Learning With The Campus Arboretum

Service learning is an educational experience that complements classroom instruction with community service. In partnership with campus and community groups, students practice applying classroom concepts and develop transferable skills essential to their professional success. As they navigate from project conception to fruition, they hone their capacity for time management, organization, communication, and diplomacy. Through refining these skills, they develop a greater level of discernment needed when considering context, practical constraints, and nuances of a project. Students also gain confidence as they learn by doing and ultimately experience the transformative power of civic engagement.


The University of Arizona Campus Arboretum provides opportunities for students to participate in service-learning projects that address campus environmental issues, support education and outreach, and research in multiple settings. Students have contributed to maintenance and development of the campus grounds, helped with curation and expansion of the living collections, and developed interpretive materials, such as signs, tours, and web content, used both on and off campus.


While working on these projects for the Campus Arboretum, students are simultaneously developing a more nuanced understanding of subject-matter, while also developing skills such as problem solving, teamwork, and leadership. Past and current Campus Arboretum student interns spoke to their service-learning experiences and shared the ways they’ve benefitted.









There is a symbiotic relationship between UA students and the UA Arboretum. The Arboretum provides opportunity for service-learning experiences to support student development, and the student interns provide meaningful service that benefits the campus and surrounding community.






The opportunities at the UA Arboretum allow students to solidify concepts they’ve studied in various degree programs and gain confidence in skills they can contribute to other related fields in their future professions. Service learning prompts students to move beyond lower order thinking that involves understanding and remembering to higher order thinking that involves application, evaluation, analysis, and creation. Students working with the Campus Arboretum are enriched and better prepared with the practical skills, personal confidence, and leadership experience, necessary for conscientious and civic engagement.