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Service learning program provides education through community service

By ASHLEY FOSTER
On March 15, 2012

The Marshall University Service Learning Program offers students a chance to gain education and appreciation for their field of study through participation in community service.

This program implements community service into certain courses with the purpose being to show students how they can use skills they learn for their degree to help their community. The Service Learning Committee oversees the service learning curriculum. They work to provide students with the option of service learning designated classes.

Jenna Eatmon, graduate assistant for the Service Learning Center, said she helps students to understand how service learning classes can be a useful tool to prepare for the future.

A lot of times, we find students dont know how their skills can serve the community, Eatmon said. Its important to think outside of the box. One of the purposes of service learning is for students to learn there are many different ways they could use their degrees when they leave Marshall.

The Service Learning Program uses its Interdisciplinary Partnership Program to create community service projects for students. In this program, small groups of community partners and faculty work together to establish long-term projects that will better the area and give students a better sense of civic responsibility.

Pam Holland, director of the Service Learning Program, is also a professor of communication disorders. She teaches a freshmen service learning class that helps students to learn how to work with children and become comfortable around them.

Service Learning offers real-world, out of the classroom learning, Holland said. By the time a student is a senior, they should have both the knowledge and the skills to do their jobs. My students learn core skills as freshman that will help them work toward becoming successful.

Other Service Learning classes include various business management, psychology and political science courses. The students in Intro to Potters Wheel work with the Empty Bowls Campaign each spring to raise money for Huntington Area Food Bank.

Katrina Stewart, second-year post baccalaureate graduate student studying communication disorders, worked with children at the St. Johns House in her service learning class.

I think the purpose of the program was to develop positive relationships and provide a safe environment for the Children at St. Johns House, Stewart said. Being able to work with St. Johns instilled a lot of important values within myself. Working with children of various backgrounds helped me learn patience that will help me in my professional career as a speech language mythologist.

The Service Learning Program also offers faculty workshops throughout the year to provide faculty with the skills to teach service learning courses. Information about service learning courses can be found on their website at www.marshall.edu/srvlearn. The website also features a calendar of upcoming projects and events.

Ashley Foster can be contacted at foster108@marshall.edu.

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