Module 4: Moving Beyond the Classroom

Learning in the Community:

Contacting Potential Community Resources


In many cases, you may not know what opportunities exist with a potential resource. So how would you find out? There are three ways to contact resources: in person, by phone, or in writing by e-mail or regular mail.

When contacting a potential resource, be sure to:

  • Get the correct name and spelling of the contact
  • Identify yourself and your institution
  • Come up with a one-liner, a one-sentence explanation of what you are looking for

You will need to ask questions in order to identify opportunities. These may include:

  • Do you offer internships?
  • Does your organization give tours to students?
  • Do you know of any hands-on training opportunities in your field?
  • Are you available to answer career-related questions?
  • Do you know anyone/any organization that offers these opportunities?

Your conversations should include what you are really hoping the students will get out of the experience so that the resource knows what you are looking for and what you would expect from them.

For instance, if it's a tour of an aquarium, as part of the planning, make sure you and the tour guide know what will be covered on the tour and how it fits into your goals. If you don't communicate your objectives to the resource, there's no reason to believe the experiences will be aligned with the course.

Remember to keep track of your contacts as you build resources. You might not be able to secure an opportunity for this year's class, but perhaps a contact might be able to commit to a future collaboration.