Like seminar or evaluation, community is a word that carries a distinctive twist at The Evergreen State College. Students, staff and faculty have been engaged in some form of community based learning from the beginning of the college in 1971. Internships and program work in Olympia have led to the establishment of several nonprofit organizations, including Safeplace and GRUB. The grand opening of the Center for Community Based Learning and Action in fall 2004 further cemented Evergreen's commitment to community action.
Students in the Local Knowledge were encouraged to look beyond Olympia for their service projects, to areas including Centralia, Shelton and Tacoma. The students used video, oral history and methods of participatory research to identify crises and affect change in these communities and beyond -- one student took her spring project work all the way to Chicago!