Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

David Montgomery

Second Advisor

Colleen Borque

Third Advisor

Danielle Gage


Service learning has become an important part of getting students engaged and excited about learning. Groundswell is a G-rand Valley State University nonprofit organization funded through the Great Lakes Fishery Trust. Groundswell works with teachers and students across Kent County in Southwest Michigan to provide funding and educational support for successful service learning projects that deal mostly with the Great Lakes, the Grand River and watershed. There are 22 partners of Groundswell throughout Michigan. With those partners, Groundswell serves 17 different schools in Kent County. Service learning has a wide variety of definitions. However, at the basic level service learning is combining course content and community service equally. It strays from traditional teaching in a variety of ways. Service learning requires teachers to lead reflections so students can get the most out of their projects. Groundswell has many partners throughout Kent County. The variety of education and funding Groundswell provides helps teachers and schools construct successful service learning projects. Successful service learning projects can help students achieve in four different ways. The four ways in which students can benefit are academic learning, civic responsibility, personal development and career exploration. The benefits of service learning are endless if researched and executed properly.


There is also a Powerpoint presentation to accompany the thesis.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

2013-Baran-presentation.pdf (137 kB)
Defense Presentation