Approximately 175 students visited the third annual service-learning fair at William Woods University Thursday (Sept. 9) to learn more about community service opportunities.
Booths at the fair explained service-learning in more depth, listed opportunities available to serve local agencies and demonstrated how the WWU curriculum is incorporating service-learning into classroom learning.
Service-learning is a teaching method that utilizes community service to help students gain a deeper understanding of course content, acquire new knowledge and engage in civic activity. It also provides students with the opportunity to see and experience in “real-life” situations the things they read about in their texts, while meeting a real need in the community.
WWU has an active service-learning community, including partnerships with organizations such as the American Red Cross, Coalition Against Rape and Domestic Violence (CARDV), Fulton Head Start, Fulton Preschool, Fulton Public Schools, Habitat for Humanity, Missouri School for the Deaf, Presbyterian Manor, SERVE Inc., United Way and Fulton Soup Kitchen.
Approximately 20 organizations attended this year’s fair, and fair coordinator Erin Hansman said, “We are very excited to work with these community partners.”
Hansman is convinced of the important role service can play in education. “By reflecting on their service experience, students are able to better understand how their actions influence and enhance the lives of those around them,” she said.
According to “A Profile of the Average College Student Volunteer,” released by The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, college students today are becoming increasingly aware of the value and importance of service work.
In 2005, college students volunteered 2.3 million hours of their time to provide cleanup and relief after the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and, in 2006 alone, college students put in more than 297 million additional hours of volunteer work.
The UCLA/Higher Education Research Institute has found that these students are not only helping the community, but helping themselves as well. The profile says, “Youth who volunteer are more likely to do well in school, graduate, vote and be philanthropic.”
Representatives of Homemaker Healthcare visit with William Woods University students about volunteer opportunities with their agency.
Nancy McCue, of the Rwanda Community Partnership, tells WWU students Matt Helle (left) of Cape Girardeau and Andrew Miller of New Zealand about ways they can help with the project.