Tell Your Story
Have you had a great experience with service-learning? We'd love to hear about it! Please submit your stories and pictures to Beth Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Western junior Jake O'Rear enrolled in Cultural Anthro-pology knowing that there was a service-learning project incorporated in the class. O'Rear worked with Bellingham Homeless Aid, helping to serve meals to the local homeless population.
During their time with Bellingham Homeless Aid, O'Rear and his group looked deeper into the issue of homelessness.
"I learned what it meant to look at an issue and break it down," O'Rear said, "to see the inter-connectedness and the complexity of an issue such as homelessness, to brainstorm and initiate strategies that addressed root causes and to avoid slapping a "band-aid" on a symptoms."
O'Rear said when working on a service-learning project he could finally tie what he was learning from his text books and lectures to what was actually happening in Bellingham community and the world.
WWU student Lia Thompson volunteered at the Eastside Baby Corner in Issaquah and at the Mt. Baker Red Cross in Bellingham, where she also interned in Winter 2010. She said:
"I personally feel more connected to the community through [Eastside Baby Corner]. My volunteer work [there] has also allowed me to take on a leadership role. The leadership skills I am honing here are useful in other areas of my life. Additionally, because I work with both community members and volunteers, I am improving my communication skills.
"My experience at the Mt. Baker Red Cross prepared me career-wise by allowing me to work both independently and with others. I used my project management and organizational skills to successfully complete my internship. I also made lasting connections with the staff which is excellent for networking."
In Fall of 2010, freshman Masyih Ford enrolled in Environmental Studies 202. This is what he had to say about his experience:
"Through service-learning I have been able to tap my thirst for knowledge per- taining to the environment. Spending time in the class- room does not have the same effect as learning in the field. When you are learning the in the field you are able to apply the skills you are taught in class. People often say when students leave college they are "book smart" but not "field smart"; this can be averted by engaging in service-learning. The first college class that I was able to do service-learning in was Environmental Studies 202 with Randy Leventhal. Service-Learning was an optional part in her class; however, it was a way to solidify and be engaged in what you learned in the class room. I highly recommend service-learning to every student."