Mission & Vision
Service at Berea College
Berea College has a long history of service, reflected in the College motto: “Learning, Labor and Service.” Service was embedded in the dream of the founders, to create a community where blacks and whites, men and women, could learn together as equals. Since its beginnings, Berea has dedicated itself to serving African Americans and people from southern and central Appalachia who could not otherwise afford a college education. The Great Commitments recognize the importance of service to our identity, including specific commitments “….to emphasize the Christian ethic and motive of service to others” and “to serve the Appalachian region primarily through education but also by other appropriate services.” In a broader sense, the preamble to the Great Commitments calls us to strive toward a world beyond suffering and inequality, the challenges that service is meant to address. At Berea College, “…students and staff alike can work toward both personal goals and a vision of the world shaped by Christian values, such as the power of love over hate, human dignity and equality, and peace with justice.”
About the Center
Most of the current service and outreach programs have been in existence for decades, including Students for Appalachia, the Bonner Scholars Program, Habitat for Humanity, and People Who Care. In 2000, a new department, the Center for Excellence in Learning Through Service (CELTS) was created to house all of the student-led service programs and community outreach offices, and to lead an initiative to integrate service into the academic curriculum. CELTS provides a network of support and resources as well as a common meeting place for students, faculty, staff and community partners involved with Berea’s service-related activities. The opportunities for service, outreach, and service-learning facilitated by CELTS take place in the immediate Berea/Madison County community, in the larger Appalachian region, and at sites throughout the United States and the world.
We envision an educational system that successfully combines community service with academic learning to create an environment which challenges and prepares students to be critical thinkers, reflective learners, and active members of just communities, near and far.
The Center for Excellence in Learning Through Service (CELTS) educates students for leadership in service and social justice through promotion and coordination of academic service-learning and student-led community service.