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Service-Learning Expo showcases college and community collaboration

Dec. 2: Berea College students and faculty, along with representatives of community organizations, came together to share highlights from their recent service-learning projects.

Service-Learning Expo

Service-learning, a way for students to apply their learning in the service of the community, is at the core of Berea’s mission. At the end of each semester, Berea's Center for Excellence in Learning through Service (CELTS) presents an expo of students, faculty, and community partners sharing information about service-learning projects that have taken place during that term.

The expo provides an opportunity to highlight partnerships between Berea College students and the community, said Ashley Cochrane, associate director for Service-learning and Student-led Programs. She added, “It is also a time for the campus and community to come together and to share ideas for future collaborations.”

The expo displayed various stations where students and faculty were present to discuss the their projects and their contribution to service-learning. The stations included Religion 218: Voices of Nonviolence, Math 108: Environmental Issues: A Mathematical Modeling Approach, English 280A: Workshop in Professional Writing: Technical Communication, and the Hispanic Outreach Project (HOP).

The class project for Religion 218 was to promote peace and nonviolent philosophies and practices. Math 108 focused on contemporary environmental issues. Their station proposed 10 things that one could do to be more sustainable. The Hispanic Outreach Project presented their work to help the growing Latino population in Madison County.

Dr. Libby Jones' English 280A focused on the writing aspect of service-learning. Thirteen students wrote articles for Berea Magazine.

When asked about her experience and what she felt was the most important aspect of the project, Junior Kristin Driggers, who took Dr. Jones' class, answered, “Bringing awareness to the type of writing that you can use later on in your career.”

Service-learning has a strong history at Berea College. Learning through service allows students to apply academic knowledge and critical thinking skills to meet community needs. In the past, students have successfully led projects such as food drives, summer tutoring and more to help communities in the region.

Dr. Michelle Tooley, instructor of Religion 218, succinctly expressed her thoughts on service-learning, “It shows what civic engagement is all about.”

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