Improving the Long-Term Sustainability of Service-Learning Projects: Six Lessons Learned from Early MIT IDEAS Competition Winners
International Journal for Service Learning in Engineering
An ongoing concern of service-learning projects is whether they can benefit target populations in the long-term. Too often, service-learning projects end before a real deliverable is presented to the community. At MIT, a short history of service-learning projects can be documented through the IDEAS Competition, an annual competition that awards small monetary prizes to student teams that have designed and implemented innovative projects to positively impact underserved communities. This article
... ities. This article analyzes how winning projects of the first five IDEAS Competitions evolved or dissolved. From the experiences and wisdom of these early winners, this article offers six pieces of advice to students and academic institutions seeking to implement service-learning projects: 1) Seriously consider implementation from the beginning, 2) Be concrete and realistic in the short term, 3) Be flexible in the long-term, 4) Build a multidisciplinary team, 5) Collaborate with a solid community partner, and 6) Prepare for continuity.