William Woods University to Host Service-Learning Fair

William Woods University will host its third annual service-learning fair Thursday, Sept. 9, to give students and the community a chance to learn more about community service opportunities.  


The service-learning fair will be held from noon to 2 p.m. outside Tucker Dining Hall. In case of rain, the fair will be held in the Ivy Room (lower level of Tucker Dining Hall). It is free and open to anyone in the community interested in service.


Booths at the fair will explain service-learning in more depth, list opportunities available to serve local agencies and demonstrate 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 30 organizations have committed to attending this year’s fair, which, according to fair coordinator Erin Hansman, is a milestone for the service-learning fair. 


“This is the largest number of presenters in the history of the fair, and we are very excited to work with these community partners and faculty,” she said.


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.”