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55 Good Things About West Virginia
Shepherd University's Office of Student Community Services and Service Learning has been recognized by The State Journal as one of 55 Good Things About West Virginia. The article appears in a special supplement to the May 30, 2008 edition of The State Journal.
The Office of Student Community Services and Service Learning has as its mission to promote, organize and assist in the coordination of campus outreach initiatives. This is achieved through effective placement of individual students and academic and social organizations in situations that embrace learning through service.
The office works directly with non-profit agencies and initiatives, both locally and nationally, to create opportunities that are mutually beneficial to both the agency and Shepherd's students. By understanding the goals of the volunteer(s) and the recipient(s), successful matches are made that create life long learning, leadership development and a deeper understanding of diverse populations.
Through the numerous community service opportunities coordinated by the office, more than 1,350 volunteer opportunities were accomplished with Shepherd students. These range from large scale events such as Relay for Life (Shepherd has raised $218,802 since 2003) and the Annual Day of Service (125 students volunteered at 19 non-profits in 2006-07) to a student reading to children and hiding Easter Eggs.
Students have traveled to southern West Virginia to work with extreme at risk students, held bake sales to raise money for a child with ALS leukemia, picked up trash along West Virginia highways, scrubbed kitchens for Meals on Wheels, assisted with bagging 45,000 pounds of potatoes for the hungry, helped the elderly, and cleaned pet cages.
"There is rarely a task too great or too small for Shepherd students," said Holly Morgan Frye, director of Student Community Services and Service Learning.
Service Learning continues to grow at Shepherd University, one course at a time. With the addition of a historic preservation program, now more than 250 students are participating in a structured, experiential learning component built into their syllabi. Twenty-seven students provided labor at the Arts Center in Martinsburg, twenty students created polished documents for the Shepherdstown Volunteer Fire Department through a Technical Editing class, ten students wrote children versions of classic world literature and read them to students in the public schools, and one hundred ninety-six education students tutored at-risk nontraditional inner city students at Harpers Ferry Job Corps. One of the most exciting and emergent learning methods, service learning compels students to connect the statistics, readings, and lectures of the traditional classroom to real world needs and efforts creating life-long learning.
Thirteen students participated in community restitution through the office. "Offering students an alternative to a more traditional sanction," stated Frye, "judicial restitution gives students the opportunity to give back that which they took by violating campus or community ordinances."
More importantly, this program creates a chance for students to work closely with campus and community leaders, fostering close relationships which form a basis for mutual understanding and respect, a concept quite possibly non-existent prior to the infraction.
The Office of Student Community Services and Service Learning is growing every year, adding programs, numbers of students, numbers of faculty and staff participation, and service learning opportunities. Whether inside the structure of a classroom or within the social setting of Greek life, the boundaries are limitless when determining what students are capable of accomplishing as are the rewards for their efforts. With institutional support, a community willing to embrace student volunteers, and direction from Student Community Services, Shepherd University's students will continue to excel as civic minded, life changing, diverse adults.
For more information about student community opportunities, contact Holly Morgan Frye at 304-876-5402 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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