Abstract: Department level reform efforts funded by the National Science Foundation were instituted for the civil and environmental engineering (CEE) programs at the University of Vermont. The overall goal of the reform was to educate and have students apply a systems approach to civil and environmental problems. A key strategy for practicing a systems approach was through service-learning (S-L) projects that were introduced into existing courses. The reform began in 2005 and now includes S-L projects in required courses in each of the four years of the programs. Students have worked with community partners (e.g. Vermont towns and non-profit organizations) on inquiry-based, open-ended, real-world S-L projects. Student work and assessments showed that the S-L projects provided ideal platforms for CEE undergraduate students to grasp systems concepts while accomplishing academic goals, civic engagement and improving personal/interpersonal skills. The S-L projects also contributed toward meeting the program accreditation criteria (ABET outcomes 3a-k).