September 20, 2007
Service to the community as a part of learning will be honored when the Center for Service Learning at Johnson State College celebrates its 20th anniversary September 28-29.
Over the years, thousands of students have supported local food shelves, built homes and a school, donated blood, and promoted literacy among children. In just the last academic year (2006-2007), 500 JSC students logged 15,600 hours of community service.
The Center for Service Learning (CSL), previously known as SERVE (Students Enriching and Responding through Volunteer Efforts), has built service learning into the curriculum and also helped students broaden their horizons with overseas study and exchange programs. Since 1991, participation in the Break Away program to inspire lifelong active citizenship has seen 839 JSC students participate in 84 alternative study trips around the world.
Break Away 2008 will include eight student leaders with four program issue areas and trips for approximately 50 students, faculty, and staff. Site issues will include: environmental, hunger and homelessness, children and education, and disaster relief. In honor of the 20th anniversary of CSL, students have also been involved in starting a Service Learning endowment to support student programs, travel, leadership, and community partnerships.
JSC alumni who participated in CSL programs are invited to return to campus later this month to recall their experiences, share them with others, and bring digital photos for a slide presentation. CSL is also seeking four speakers who represent two decades of "making a difference."
Career Center Service Project co-director Ellen Hill noted: "The Center for Service Learning 20-year celebration is an opportunity to reflect and celebrate our work. Over the past two decades, an estimated 3,000 students, faculty, and staff have contributed over 200,000 hours of service.
"Hundreds of organizations from Johnson Elementary School to the Friendship Union in Hue, Vietnam have opened their doors and allowed Johnson students to connect with people, learn about issues, and most importantly, given students the opportunity to learn that they can be a catalyst for positive social change. I hope that this celebration will bring together students from the last 20 years and we can resurrect memories and inspire hope," Hill added.
The weekend program of events begins with registration at Dewey Commons September 28, at 9:30 a.m., a welcome by JSC President Barbara E. Murphy, CSL coordinator Laura Megivern, and Career Center Service Project co-director Ellen Hill, and service projects (including a trail restoration project and preserving locally grown food for the Johnson Food Shelf) from 10:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. On September 29, there is again registration and a reception at JSC's Dibden Center for the Arts and the Julian Scott Memorial Gallery, and a presentation: "The Engaged Life: Two Decades of Making a Difference."