The actual work you do may not be different from what others on campus are doing in service. However, the approach to the work should be different from that of a volunteer. It is your responsibility as a scholar to look more deeply at the issues that affect the people that you serve and to integrate that knowledge into your course content so that your opinions, judgments and solutions are based on that knowledge. You do not receive the extra credit for service; it is for the work you do to enhance learning. The learning is a process facilitated by the class, the action of service, and reflection.
The courses available to SLC participants change every semester, although we aim to provide dynamic courses that also satisfy students' general sophomore year requirements, as specified by their academic college. Previous courses have ranged from Ethical Traditions & Contemporary Life, Introduction to Sociology, Engineering in Humanistic Contexts, Perspectives on US Poverty, Christian Ethics, Philosophy of Education, and Management Essentials. Please check our complete offering of courses.
Service sites range from tutoring students at Jay Cooke Elementary School in the Logan section of Philadelphia, from Primary Grades, Elementary Grades, and Middle Grades. Other sites include National Student Partnerships, the nation’s only year-round, student-led volunteer service organization that links people in need with the resources and opportunities necessary to become self-sufficient. Finally, opportunities are also available at Urban Bridges, a non-profit community based organization that offers after school and summer art and academic-focused programs to school-age children and literacy training, mentoring and tutoring for adults, children, and families in the disadvantaged neighborhood of Olney-Feltonville in Philadelphia.
This is the reflection piece of your service learning commitment. It is a time for reflection, to ask questions and to share your feelings about what you encounter in your service. This is time to talk about the connections you are making between your class and your service. This is time to give back to the community you are serving by thinking in terms of the bigger picture. Are the services offered to the children at Cooke Middle School equal to the services you received as a child? Who is coming to NSP, why are they coming? How do you feel about the answers to those questions? What questions does it raise for you about compulsory education, inequality, race, privilege?? Do you want to know more?? Can you bring questions back to the classroom, to your academic work that might help you answer some of the questions you have. Caution!!! Do not form answers to your questions based on assumptions, previously held stereotypes or what you think you know. That is disrespectful to a community. Do your homework, find facts and continue to ask questions, because what you find might not seem like justice.