UWC places emphasis on service learning and community engagement as a core part of its curriculum. Each of the UWC Schools and colleges foster a culture of social responsibility and a deep and consistent engagement with its surrounding community. The schools and colleges educate for action with the hope that UWC graduates will go on to become proactive agents of change in their societies and they will endeavour to make positive contributions at all levels: personal, local community and global scale. Community service projects enable young people to develop a sense of social responsibility and become involved in the community around the college. UWC encourages students to take initiative and stretch themselves, with a view to learning a great deal about themselves, their community and their environment. Students are given the responsibility and courage to identify opportunities, initiate projects and take the lead in implementing them. The community service programmes at UWC has clear guidelines on how students can interpret and relate their experiences of local challenges to the global issues and tensions that they represent.
The community service program therefore exposes students to local manifestations of global challenges such as economic inequalities and social injustices in people’s material lives. Aware of this, UWC students often go on to find ways of making a personal contribution towards building a better society. By virtue of their privilege and exposure to community service, it is expected that students will share their good fortunes with the less fortunate members of society. Each college identifies the e key issues that the UWC needs to respond to, within its context, which are at the core of its Community service programs. Students are required to work on projects that reflect on making a significant impact in the lives of others. These projects may include but not limited to: environmental sustainability e.g. habitat and wildlife conservation, soil conservation, recycling, restoration of ecosystems, restoration of watersheds and water management, waste management, sustainable agriculture; the care and support for disadvantaged social groups: refugees, physically challenged people, vulnerable and orphaned children, the sick or elderly; leadership and youth entrepreneurship education, humanitarian aid service, Community literacy and numeracy tutoring, sanitation and health education among others
Consequently, community service is a powerful tool of education at UWC, as it focuses on improving life conditions of local communities and the world in which the graduates of the school and colleges will find themselves. Some of the experiences learned through community services at UWC include interacting with people from different communities such as: refugees, orphaned and vulnerable children. The hope is that these will culminate into a great affirmation to UWC students that all people are equal and should not be judged or discriminated against based on their backgrounds. Through participation in various community service programs, UWC schools and colleges develop graduates who become great leaders in their societies, leaders who will not only be able to influence others in positive ways, but also make desirable changes in their communities as well. In addition to this, UWC aims at instilling a lifelong commitment to positive social action among students. Ultimately, students coming from ‘low-income’ countries who go on to study at universities abroad will be expected to eventually contribute to their societies from their broadened perspectives and rich education.