Enriching Our Communities Through Service
In the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, we believe community engagement is a powerful and useful learning tool for students while providing meaningful service to the community. We perform engaged, impactful work throughout the state, working with faculty who have on-the-ground projects and meaningful connections beyond the College of Natural Resources.
The community engagement opportunities we offer include short-term service-learning projects; full-immersion, semester-long service-learning courses and class projects and study abroad experiences that include an aspect of service-learning. Check out highlights below from some of our community engagement experiences.
Projects and Partnerships
Sport and Community Partnerships
Students in PRT 277: Psychological and Cultural Dimensions of Sport study a wide range of topics including the relationships between sport and gender, class, race and ethnicity, health, drugs, violence, education and life-long physical activity.
A portion of the class experience each fall involves partnering with local organizations — notably diverse elementary schools — to provide opportunities for NC State students to connect directly with children by serving as mentors and buddies. This connection also involves the design and implementation of sport skill stations. Past partnerships include Bugg Magnet Elementary School, Washington Magnet Elementary School and A. B. Combs Leadership Magnet Elementary School.
In Fall 2019, students in PRT 277 were a part of a new partnership with children at Dillard Drive Magnet Elementary School in Cary, NC. Home to the Dragonflies, Dillard Drive serves a diverse community of learners and families who speak more than 36 home languages. The school opened its doors in 1998. Today, it is on the road to becoming a magnet school for world languages and Spanish immersion.
NC State students develop a greater appreciation for the impact that sport has on young children by working with different populations at Dillard Drive. PRT 277 students assisted teachers, provided structured recess and created opportunities for special population classes to participate in physical activities. By partnering together to deliver academic, sport and recreation programming, students at NC State and Dillard Drive Magnet Elementary School gain lifelong experiences.
National Girls and Women in Sports Day Clinic
In February 2020, undergraduate students in our Sport Management program teamed up with NC State Athletics to host an all-sports clinic at Dail Basketball Center in recognition and celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day. Students planned and implemented a variety of engaging activities designed for girls and boys in grades K-5 to learn about sports and participate in athletic skill development drills.
At the clinic’s conclusion, those in attendance were encouraged to purchase a ticket to the women’s basketball game. Before tip-off, a Girls and Women in Sports Chalk Talk was held in Reynolds Coliseum, where female leaders and coaches from NC State spoke on the importance of inspiring girls and women to be active, play and use their confidence to become strong leaders. Designed to be a co-ed event, the sports clinic provided a unique opportunity to recognize girls’ and women’s progress in sports and the benefits that athletic and fitness activities can bring to everyone.
Partnerships in Recreation Program Planning
Recreation program planning skills are essential for providing services in our field. Students in PRT 358: Recreation Program Planning learn the process of planning programs through coursework and practical, hands-on experience.
PRT 358 is a full-immersion service-learning course with students partnered with community agencies. Agency staff guide students through the process of designing and delivering recreation programs for their clientele. Partnering agencies serve a variety of audiences, from children and teens to older adults, and the local community. Settings include local community centers, parks and nature centers, senior centers and NC State’s ThriveWell program.
Student-created programs provide undergraduate students with valuable experience and supply our community with meaningful recreation programs. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, students have continued their service-learning experiences by designing virtual programs for their community partners.
Environmental Education Partnerships
Several courses associated with the Environmental Education minor provide students with community engagement opportunities. PRT 385: Environmental Education in Practice. Students are placed with a community partner for a three-week mini-internship experience focused on environmental education and outreach. Partners have included K-12 classrooms, the Kinder Garden Preschool, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh City Parks, Wake County Parks, NC State Parks and the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.
In addition, PRT 442: Recreation & Park Interpretive Services offers opportunities for students to engage with community partners in interpretive settings. Students have developed live interpretive programs such as Songbird Celebration at Blue Jay Point County Park, online tours of historical attractions of Raleigh and signage for points of interest around the NC State campus.
The Environmental Education Lab, led by Dr. Kathryn Stevenson, engages both graduate and undergraduate students in a variety of community-based research projects. The lab studies how time in nature benefits children as well as how children can be change agents in their communities to address environmental problems. NC State students help develop and lead professional development programs for teachers, support K-12 students in delivering community events like beach clean-ups, and work to be a resource for educators looking to get kids outdoors and involved in their communities. Learn more about our work with teachers and community partners.
For more information about our K-12 outreach projects and partnerships, contact Kimberly Bush, Director of Undergraduate Programs in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management.
To learn more about our environmental education partnerships, contact Kathryn Stevenson, Assistant Professor in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management.