Service Opportunities

Dordt understands that learning must lead to service, and that service enhances learning. That’s why Dordt offers so many opportunities to volunteer, both in the community and around the world. The best part? The service programs are mainly driven by students’ own personal commitment to a life of Christian service. And while the students are helping out the people around them, they’re also gaining experience in planning, organizing, and leading.

A group of students making a meal


Around 60 percent of Dordt students are actively involved in volunteering activities, and 1 in 10 students are engaged in community-based service learning and practicum experiences as part of their required coursework.

COP (Community Outreach Program), PLIA (Putting Love Into Action), and AMOR (A Mission OutReach) are the largest volunteer opportunities offered at Dordt. These opportunities give students a chance to create change and be a blessing in their immediate communities, throughout the United States, and across the world.

Students are not limited to these activities—they find plenty of other ways to make a difference. Some are involved in prison ministry, mentoring at ATLAS (a local Christ-centered ministry), tutoring students in area elementary schools, and even serving with Habitat for Humanity or the Hope Food Pantry.

A picture of people visiting Austria

A Mission Outreach (AMOR)

AMOR, which stands for A Mission OutReach, is a vision trip: The goal is to see what God is already doing in another part of the world, because we believe that Jesus and the gospel go before us. AMOR is also an opportunity for students to gain cross-cultural experience, to apply their majors and unique gift sets to glorify God and serve others.

Annually, more than 40 Dordt students travel to developing countries where they are introduced to the culture and the missional challenges of their host country, partner with local organizations, and possibly carry out work projects. Past AMOR groups have served in Cambodia, Liberia, Tanzania, Nepal, Lesotho, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, India, Jamaica, and Haiti.

Depending on the trip, flight costs, the size of the group, and the work being done at the site, the cost per student ranges from $1,500 to $4,000. AMOR is a two-week experience, taking place during Christmas break and immediately after school ends in May. Students can receive applications in September during the AMOR meeting, which discusses the options for the upcoming missions.

Want to learn more about AMOR? Check out this Voice article on one AMOR experience.

Community Outreach Program (COP)

Since its beginnings, the Community Outreach Program (COP) has involved hundreds of students in volunteer service through agencies and ministries in the Sioux Center area.

College-funded and student-run, COP gives students the opportunity to make more long-term commitments to the organizations and individuals they serve than they are able to with PLIA and AMOR.

Some programs in which COP volunteers have worked include Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the Asylum (a Youth for Christ teen center), a domestic violence intervention center, and local residences for people with disabilities.

Some students' COP projects also directly support their classroom learning, as they find volunteer positions that allow them to gain hands-on experience related to their studies. Teacher education students have volunteered at the Kidzone afterschool program at a local church, worked in Head Start programs, daycare centers, or local schools. Social work students have served in a variety of social service agencies, nursing homes, and hospitals.

Putting Love Into Action (PLIA)

Every spring break, Dordt University gives its students an opportunity to participate in a service project called Putting Love into Action, or PLIA. Each year, more than 100 students sign up to serve communities across the country. Students do a variety of jobs, including home repair, cleanup, and childcare. They also develop long-term relationships between Dordt and the organization the group serves.

While these are mission-service trips, groups also find time away for recreation or sightseeing.

Throughout the week, students grow closer to each other through social and devotional times. PLIA serves both as a means of growth for the community and as a means of spiritual growth in the students.

Applications are available during the school year and must be submitted with a deposit of $75, $85, or $95 (based on early bird deadlines). The overall cost for each student is approximately $350. Students are also required to submit ten letters of support with their application. The location where a student will serve is generated based on the student’s top five site choices.

Some students do not collect the full $350, but other individuals, churches, or businesses make larger donations. As a result, no student is ever turned down for PLIA based on shortage of funds. Generally, Dordt uses this method to raise the nearly $50,000 required each year—a beautiful picture of the body of Christ working together.