Advocacy Performance Raises Awareness of Local Hunger
Among the 17 academic service-learning classes being taught this fall at Alma College is a seminar in which students serve food at the Community Café and interview the participants in preparation for a theatrical performance during National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.
The first-semester college students will present their performance, titled “The Invisible Ache: Fighting Hunger in Gratiot County,” at 7 p.m. Nov. 17 in Jones Auditorium on the Alma College campus. Admission is free and open to the public.
“This has been a very eye-opening class for the students,” says Joanne Gilbert, professor of communication. “The students are doing both direct service at the Community Café and advocacy on hunger in Gratiot County.”
Student serve food at the local Community Cafe.
Gilbert divided her class of 15 students into two groups, with each group making visits to the Community Café at the Alma First Presbyterian Church to serve meals and interview the participants. In class, the students read about and discussed local, national and world hunger as well as read about performance and advocacy.
“The students are weaving 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 participants at Community Café were agreeable to the interviews, says Gilbert.
“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.”
Service learning classes are designed to incorporate some aspect of community service as part of the curriculum. Of the 17 service-learning classes being taught at Alma College this fall, four are designed especially for first-year students to introduce them to life at Alma College.
Posted: Thu, November 5th, 2009 at 10:10AM