First-year Students Advocate for Hunger Awareness
Among the 17 academic service-learning classes being taught this fall at Alma College is Joanne Gilbert’s First Year Seminar on Performance Advocacy in which students serve at the Community Café and interview the participants in preparation for a presentation during National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.
“This has been a very eye-opening class for the students,” says Gilbert, professor of communication. “The students are doing both direct service at the Community Café and advocacy on hunger in Gratiot County.”
Gilbert divided her class of 15 students into two groups, with each group making visits to the Community Café to serve meals and interview the participants. In class, the students read and discuss hunger globally, nationally and locally as well as read about performance and advocacy.
Students serving at the Community Cafe.
“The students are starting to work on text that weaves national data and scholarly literature about hunger into a performance script,” says Gilbert. “Then, they will take the transcripts of the interviews and weave those in, as well. Ultimately, the students will have a performance text representing the views of the people who eat the Community Café along with data and literature on hunger.”
The students will present their performance, to be titled “The Invisible Ache: Fighting Hunger in Gratiot County,” at 7 p.m. Nov. 17 in Jones Auditorium.
“The participants at Community Café were absolutely delighted to be interviewed,” says Gilbert. “One of the regular cooks there observed that the people seemed genuinely pleased to be asked to talk.
“This has been a very collaborative process,” says Gilbert. “The students own the script, designed the questions and got to know the folks who eat at the café. Some of the students will probably go back to the Community Café to serve even after our class is done.”
Of the 17 service-learning classes this fall, four are First Year Seminars.
“We are trying to reach more first-year students with service learning,” says Anne Ritz, service learning coordinator. In addition to Performance Advocacy, the other First Year Seminar service-learning classes are:
• Food, Culture and Identity, taught by Mary Theresa Bonhage-Freund. The class also involves service at Community Café.
• Happiness and the Good Life, an honors course team taught by Dana Aspinall, Janie Diels, Sheryle Dixon and William Gorton. The students are asked to compare and contrast a day of pleasure with a day of service in terms of the lasting value of the happiness experience. A set of service guidelines was presented to the students.
• Public Affairs Colloquium, taught by Ed Lorenz. Students will present community forums at 7 p.m. Dec. 10 in Dow L-1 on issues related to immigration, international law and agricultural sustainability.
Posted: Mon, October 19th, 2009 at 8:47AM