Coursework That Makes A Difference
Dr. Eva Simms introduced Genna and her classmates to their service-learning project, working with the Mount Washington Community Development Corporation (CDC). The project’s goal was to see how the environment had an impact on people. The class did multiple mini projects to serve the community and get a better understanding of how helping makes a difference.
One goal of the project was to find out about the history of Mount Washington and how to make it a greener place. Genna and her classmates interviewed senior citizens who grew up on Mount Washington during the 1930s through the 1950s. The seniors gave their accounts of what life was like on Mount Washington when they were growing up and how the environment has changed over the years. The interviewees told Genna that they felt safer while they were growing up and that there were more green spaces than what Mount Washington has now. The students created an archive of the interviews so that these first-hand accounts could be given back to the interviewees and saved for the future.
Genna said that it was easy to see that green spaces used to exist and now were being destroyed. Genna says she wanted to “get involved and [see] how important the green spaces are and what they do for people; also, it is important not to destroy the spaces we have.”
“Through service-learning you find that you don’t know how you can help and when you do know, you can pass it on and get other people involved and then you can see that you can make a difference.”
Developing Civic Responsibility
Genna talked about how her class prepared her for the service-learning project. “You are taught in class but until you do [service-learning] you don’t really ‘know’ it––through ‘doing’ is when you really understand it.” She learned about community, what it is, and what it entails.
To Genna, “It’s stuff that seems so simple but when you analyze it you see it isn’t so simple; you look at the overall meaning of it and what is important and be a part of a community that you believe in.”
Becoming A Caring Citizen
Genna thinks service-learning is an important and valuable part of Duquesne’s curriculum. She believes that by participating in service-learning, one is less afraid of helping and will want to go out and do something about a certain situation or project.
Service-learning raises students’ awareness of areas that are in need of help, how to help and finally, encourages them to spread the word about the opportunity.