Experiential learning is one way of exploring your interests as an undergraduate, as well as an opportunity to think critically about your present and future roles in a number of communities, be they on campus, in the Seattle area, or internationally. You can find experiential learning opportunities most suited to your interests through existing UW programs, or by seeking out community-based programs or organizations. The UW offers a wide range of opportunities for students to engage in experiential learning on and off campus. UW students also frequently forge their own community partnerships for leadership, service, and research projects, and even design their own study abroad experiences
If you are just beginning to explore the possibilities for your own experiential learning projects, you may find some of the resources on this page helpful. If you already have some idea of a project and you would like to know if it will fulfill the Experiential Learning Requirement, you should be sure you have reviewed the requirement and then you should complete the Honors Experiential Learning Self Assessment.
In considering the questions and ideas below, remember that you may find opportunities for forming partnerships with some of the programs and organizations mentioned for service, leadership, or community-engaged research projects. These prompts are designed to get you thinking, and do not provide exhaustive lists of all campus, local, national or international organizations working on these issues - you may also find a wide number and range of opportunities with organizations and programs not mentioned here.
What are your interests?
Are you interested in learning about yourself and the world through travel?
Check out the Honors International Engagement webpage as a great starting point for studying abroad through Honors, with another UW opportunity, or to create your own study abroad.
Do you get excited about conducting lab experiments or researching social or political issues? Maybe you would like to do research on campus, in a lab or with a faculty-led research project?
There are a number of research opportunities at UW - in various science and psychology labs, as well as with projects in international studies and other social sciences. Many of these are listed as jobs or internships on the HuskyJobs website. There is even a whole unit at UW dedicated to connecting undergraduates to research: The Undergraduate Research Program. In addition, you may want to read through the research of UW faculty (on departmental and faculty webpages) to see what interests you and if those faculty have research assistant positions available.
Do you have an idea for your own research project? Or are you working on a research project with a professor or other students?
You should consider participating in the Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium, and may qualify to apply for research funding through the Mary Gates Endowment. These and other opportunities can be explored through the UW Center for Experiential Learning's website.
Do you enjoy working with kids? Teaching? Mentoring?
You might enjoy tutoring or mentoring K-12 students with UW's Pipeline Project, or working with at-risk preschool children through Jumpstart, or working with first-generation and low-income high school students through the UW Dream Project, a student-initiated outreach project. There are also opportunities to work with kids through community organizations, such as the Refugee Women's Alliance (ReWA)'s Early Childhood Education Program or 826 Seattle.
Are you interested in working on social justice issues broadly? In finding community-engaged opportunities for service, leadership or research around social change?
You might find an experiential opportunity through Solid Ground, a Seattle organization working against poverty and racism, or OneAmerica, formed after September 11th (as the HateFreeZone) working for immigrant, civil and human rights. You might also consider Northwest Immigrant Rights Project - an organization proving both legal services and community education to advance the human rights of low-income immigrants and refugees. Another local organization, LELO, employs local organizing to create social change around issues of gender, race, class, and sexuality.
Are you concerned about climate change? Passionate about environmental issues? Excited about exploring the natural beauty of the Puget Sound region or learning about organic farming?
You could find opportunities to engage with local food organizations by looking at the UW Farm, the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance, or Seattle Tilth, including the Seattle Youth Garden Works program. If you are interested in exploring the natural beauty of our area you may be interested in the Student Conservation Association or the Washington Trails Association.
Are you interested in community and public health issues? Global health? Perhaps you're thinking about or undertaking a pre-med track and would like to explore leadership or service opportunities related to your educational interests?
You may find opportunities through the UW's Global Health Resource Center, the UW Medical Center, or the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice. The UW Law School also has a Global Health and Justice Project that works with a Seattle-based NGO, Uplift International. You may also be interested in volunteering at Children's Hospital, Country Doctor or the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center.
Perhaps you're interested in pre-law, political science or the Law, Societies and Justice (LSJ) major?
You might find an experiential learning project with the Northwest Justice Project, Washington's publically funded legal aid program, or maybe with Washington state branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) or Legal Voice, an organization working to secure and protect women's legal rights.
Do you want to work with organizations serving LGBTQ communities?
You might find an experiential opportunity at the UW's QCenter, or perhaps with Equal Rights Washington, a statewide political advocacy organization serving the LGBT community in WA and linking up with regional and national political movements.
Perhaps you are interested in the intersection of business and philanthropy?
Are you interested in housing and homelessness issues?
You might find an interesting experiential project with Real Change around street newspapers and homelessness issues, or perhaps with Noel House and Women's Referral Center, local organizations serving homeless women in the Seattle area with direct services and advocacy work. Habitat for Humanity may also be of interest to you.
Do you see a need in your community for a particular service or program?
Consider designing your own project and taking a leadership role in making your vision a reality. You may find an organization, community center, or religious center where you can forge a collaborative partnership to undertake such a project. Be creative, think through your ideas, and discuss them with others who care about the same issues.
What kinds of skills do you have to offer?
If you are not sure what interests you would like to explore, think a little about what you skills or knowledge you have might be useful to a research, international, service or leadership engagement. We all have different kinds of skills and strengths to offer. If you have strong organizational, research or web-design skills, these may be helpful in designing a project in conjunction with a community organization locally or globally, or may allow you to fulfill an unmet need in an existing program. Likewise, strengths in working with children, being a compassionate and patient listener, or a strong commitment to social change may suit you, respectively, to tutoring, working on a crisis help-line, or helping to organize social justice projects in a number of settings.
You may also want to spend some time looking around at the many options available. Organizations like United Way of King County have many volunteer opportunities, and you can also look at the UW's Student Activities Office for lists of all the different student clubs and organizations at UW.
These are only a handful of examples of ways that you might find yourself suited to a particular experiential learning project or opportunity. Keep an open mind about what you might find interesting and about what you might have to offer in a collaborative learning and work experience. In addition, feel free to come speak with an Honors adviser -- we can often direct you to great collaborators or programs on campus where you can get started!