Love to serve? Consider new individual service opportunity, solo service

As a new initiative, Engage Dallas is consistently seeking feedback and insights on ways to innovate our work, improve our processes, and reaffirm mutual benefit between SMU and the South and West Dallas communities.

Student cleaning classroomHere’s what we discovered since our modest beginning in October 2020: While our community partners enjoy having Engage Dallas groups come on-site and serve alongside them, sometimes they need only one or two students — not an entire group. 

Engage Dallas also knows SMU students have varied schedules and may not always be available to serve with their Residential Commons during scheduled group service.  

So, what’s the solution? A new form of individual service called solo service. Solo service launched to students on February 14, 2022. 

Student and faculty planting vegetables While Engage Dallas still offers monthly, group service through the Residential Commons, solo service is a type of Engage Dallas Individual Service. Solo service provides semi-structured opportunities for students to volunteer and provide direct service on an individual basis. Engage Dallas curates these individual service opportunities for students, based on their Residential Commons affiliation, to volunteer as their schedule and the community need align.  


Solo Service is characterized by:  

  • Individual, or sometimes a pair, of students participate in service  
  • Students organize their own transportation to and from the service site 
  • Students sign-up or schedule directly with the Community Partner representative  
  • An Engage Dallas Student Director is not present during service 
  • Students must register and respond to monthly check-in emails from Engage Dallas until complete 
  • Students track their individual service hours via the Community Partner process or on their Engagement Hours Log 

Students can learn more and find out how you can get started with solo service today. 

Plus, recognized Engage Dallas community partners can submit solo service opportunities via our online form 


Announcements News

The Engage Dallas Resource Library is now live

Engage Dallas is excited to unveil the Resource Library available to all students, faculty, staff, and community members.

The resource library was designed by two SMU students, Shelby Peck and Cristal Mendez. Peck ’21, an undergraduate student studying Public Policy and Political Science, described the experience as “an incredible way to connect with the Dallas community by learning more about the social problems that affect the areas of South and West Dallas and seeing the resources available to address these problems through community partnerships.” 

The resource library will be unveiled in two phases. Phase one encompasses all Residential Commons-specific social problems and offers a self-paced, deeper learning experience through four different categories:  

  • “Listen & Learn” gives access to short videos that help the readers gain an introductory understanding of the social problem 
  • “Watch & Reflect” allows the readers to experience a more in-depth video or podcast that offers an extensive dive into the social problem 
  • Through “Explore & Understand,” readers will have access to an individualized learning experience and will be able to engage with various web resources, digital learning tools, and articles to deepen their learning 
  • “Learn More” provides the reader with articles, publications, and relevant nonprofit resources to further their understanding 

Phase two will allow viewers to progress through the history of South and West Dallas. While exploring the rich histories, the Resource Library will point out connections between the historical context of these communities and the current community-identified needs. Mendez ‘22, a graduate student in the M.Ed. in Higher Education program, shared that “the most exciting part about this entire process has been using my previous knowledge gained in the classroom to develop the Resource Library while gaining new knowledge about my West Dallas community.” 

Peck mentions that “you can look forward to seeing the history of Dallas unfold in a way that highlights the origins of the social problems we addressed in phase one, with an emphasis on how certain actions throughout Dallas’ history led to the ‘current’ South and West Dallas.” Phase two will be published December 2021. 

The below image is a preview of the resource library and the options that you can expect when starting your social problem exploration. Explore phase one.