Mr. Ed Schroth
BAYER SCHOOL OF NATURAL & ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES
SERVICE-LEARNING PROVIDES MUTUALLY ENRICHING PROJECTS THAT BENEFIT BOTH THE COMMUNITY AND STUDENTS.
Ed Schroth teaches Biology in the Bayer School of Natural & Environmental Sciences. According to Mr. Schroth, an element of service to the community is important to incorporate in the classroom because “students should know why they’re doing that lab––they should understand why they’re learning something.”
Mr. Schroth says to student, “Hopefully by doing service-learning it will become hard-wired in you and after you’re done with school you will continue to service your community and model it for your children.” He remembers having a student that tested water in local streams to determine whether those streams could support fish. Years after the project was finished, this student now has children with whom he fishes in the very streams he stocked with fish as student. To Mr. Schroth, “this is what service-learning is about.”
THE LEADERSHIP ROLE
The problem, though, with many service ventures is that students go out and do things that are simply exercises. There is no meat to their project. Mr. Schroth says, “I think service-learning should be more than just picking up litter or counting fish. There should be a leadership element to every project.
Mr. Schroth says, “Too often science majors never get away from the lab tables. I think being a leader in service to the community greatly increases your job marketing capabilities.” It would certainly seem that you only get out of something what you put into it.
“I certainly want, expect, and encourage students to not simply participate but become leaders in their group. I feel that the major goal for service-learning is for students to learn to become leaders in the community.”
One student started a nature walk at a nursing home. Another example of the work Mr. Schroth’s students do is Wingfield Pines. This area was swampy and vastly polluted. A local organization was attempting to revitalize the area, but it lacked the manpower needed to accomplish their goal. Mr. Schroth’s students worked with the team to drain the area and plant trees. The students also conducted tests on the surrounding bodies of water to determine if they could sustain wildlife such as fish.
THE OPPORTUNITY TO GIVE BACK
Mr. Schroth believes that “here at Duquesne, we’re very blessed. [We must] do our part to make the world a better place.” By doing service-learning, students are doing their part. Mr. Schroth says, “There are so many problems in this world––whether it be poverty, pollution, or etc.––at the end of the day all we can do is try. Service as part of the class gives my students an opportunity to try.”