Common Ground Service Learning Program

The Common Ground Service Learning Program combines community service with academic instruction. It focuses on critical, reflective thinking and civic responsibility. The Program involves students in organized, community service that addresses local needs, while developing students' academic skills and commitment to the community.

The Common Ground Service Learning experience is open to all LIU Brooklyn students. Some professors assign it as part of a class requirement. However, if you wish to perform community service independently, you can! On this Web site you will find all the essential forms and agency information that you will need to begin your service-learning experience. Please read all instructions on this page before you begin. 

To get started, you will need to fill out a Student Learning Agreement, which will need to be signed by your professor and submitted to our office.

You will be able to look through a large database of agencies to choose a site at which you would like to volunteer your time. Please note: in order to access our database of agencies, you need a password. To get the password you must register with Common Ground, which is easy! Call or visit Naterena Parham-Cofield in the Social Work Department, 718-488-1025, 8th floor of the H building or e-mail us at Provide your name, phone number and e-mail address and we will give you your password.

Once you have your user name and password, follow these steps to begin:

  1. Search for a site at which you would like to work.
    Logon to the Placement Site Database. Enter the username and password. Use the database to find three or four opportunities that appeal to you. You can search by borough, by language, by population served or by task performed. Many of the sites have Web links you can use to learn more about the agencies. Have fun searching!
  2. Call the agencies that you have chosen.
    You may proceed with this step on your own. However, we are here to help you with all stages of this process. Please contact us, or visit us during our office hours and we will be glad to assist you.
    Once you have written down the contact information for a number of sites, call the contact person at those agencies. Introduce yourself as a Long Island University Brooklyn Campus student from the Common Ground Service Learning Program. Tell them you are interested in performing community service at their agency. They will be delighted to hear from you! Ask any questions you may have, and if it sounds good to you, make arrangements to visit the site in person. Then, choose the site you think will work best for you. 
  3. Fill out the Student Contract to enroll in the Common Ground Service Learning Program.
    This is required to work at one of our sites. This form is required for Common Ground enrollment. Print out one form for each agency you wish to visit. When you find the agency you like, have the supervisor at the agency fill out the form with you and sign it. Return this form to the Common Ground mailbox located in the Social Work Department on the 8th floor of the Humanities Building.
  4. Start service learning!
    Agree with your supervisor on your start date, and then begin working at the agency. You will need to fill in a timesheet to track your hours.
    Remember that you don't have to do it alone! We have advisors who can work with you one-on-one to help you to find the right site, to make sure your experience is a positive one and to answer all of your questions.

Faculty members at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus can participate in the Common Ground Service Learning Program and use it to:

  • Enrich classroom discussion
  • Establish connections between academic work and urban communities 
  • Introduce students to a network of professionals, clients and other volunteers 
  • Foster values of leadership and service 
  • Strengthen students' résumés 
  • Empower students to enact change 
  • Provide volunteers for the neediest not-for-profit agencies 
  • Promote a sense of civic responsibility that can endure beyond college

If you would like to incorporate service learning into a class you will be teaching, we would be happy to assist you. For more information, please contact:

Sabrina Brown, LCSW
Director of B.S.W. Field Education
Director of Common Ground Service Learning

Placement Site Database

Access to the database is available only to members of the Long Island University Brooklyn Campus community. If you are a staff member, an administrator or a faculty member, we will gladly provide you with the password and username. Please call Naterena Parham-Cofield in the Department of Social Work, 8th floor of the Humanities Building, 718-488-1025 or e-mail us at for the password.

If you are a student, be sure to follow the instructions on the Information for Students page.

If you already have the user name and password, simply logon by clicking the link below.

Welcome to the Common Ground Service Learning Web site! We are pleased that you are considering participation in the Common Ground Service Learning Program at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus. Through this innovative program, college students volunteer at your organization while they learn about community service through an academic course taught at the Campus.

Students perform 2-6 hours of community service per week during the semester. If you would like to have one of our students perform community service at your agency, we would ask respectfully for your assistance with the following: 

  • Fill out a site application form so that we can list your organization and information about it on our password-protected Web site. Students visit this site and review their options for performing community service.
  • Whenever possible, please provide meaningful tasks for students to perform. Clerical work should be minimized, but when required, should be explained in the context of the organization's big picture or mission
  • Provide students with adequate supervision 
  • Confirm students' participation in community service 
  • At the end of the term, complete an evaluation form that provides a record of the student’s performance 
  • In adherence with the policies of the Common Ground Service Learning Program and the Social Work Department, be sure that students only make visits to client’s homes if they are accompanied by an agency staff member.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us at 718-780-1025. We look forward to hearing from you.

Sabrina Brown, LCSW
Director of B.S.W. Field Education
Director of Common Ground Service Learning


School of Health Professions