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The Student Side: Service Learning

What is it?

The official definition on service-learning is:
a curriculum-based pedagogy that connects course content to community needs through experiential learning. This learning is reciprocal for both the students and the identified community organizations.

If you take a service-learning course at Westminster College, you can expect to become more aware of community issues and to be challenged academically to bring what you have learned in the classroom to the "real world," all while making the world a better place.

What does it look like across academic disciplines?

ACC 300: Tax Service
Students in this accounting course gave free tax preparation for lower income families and individuals as a way to practice their skills and providing a valuable service in the community

PED/WGS 355: Women's Health Issues
This course provided students with an opportunity to practice what they have been taught through two projects:
1. Create a healing room for the local agency Coalition Against Rape and Domestic Violence.
2. Program educational and fun classes for the young women at the Rosa Parks Center.

SPE 101: Introduction to Speech
The Persuasive Speech project in this course incorporated an interesting service-learning component. The project involved a competition to support different local, national, and international community service organizations. Each student in the class was asked to donate $5 to the assignment fund. The class was then divided into 13 teams of two and three students, each choosing an organization for which to advocate. At the conclusion of the speeches, the class voted for the team who did the best job making its case, and the funds raised went to the winning organization.

HIS 104: American History since 1890
Instead of trying to tell students about what it was like to live through events such as the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War or the Civil Rights Movement, the professor created a service-learning project so that they could hear it from those who truly experienced American history. The class visited Presbyterian Manor (a local retirement facility) to interview elderly residents about specific events in the 20th century and discuss the residents' reactions, feelings, and memories. This was brought full circle through the history lectures during classtime.

There are many more examples of service-learning in other courses. Interested in learning more? Have questions? Contact the Community Engagement & Service-Learning Office at 573-592-6213 or through email: Hannah.Minchow-Proffitt@westminster-mo.edu

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