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First-Year Seminar Students Volunteer in Community

Freshman students in the ED 100S course served the community as volunteers.

First-Year Seminar Students Volunteer in Community

By Michelle Roche (September 2007)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Instead of papers or exams, students in Jennifer Crissman Ishler’s College of Education First-Year Seminar class (ED 100S) found a different challenge. Crissman Ishler, assistant professor in the College of Health and Human Development and an affiliate assistant professor of education assigned students in both of her ED 100S courses to volunteer at local community service outlets. Altogether, 48 students performed 144 hours of community service across State College.

Students served in a variety of places, including the Food Bank, Special Olympics, Saint Vincent DePaul Thrift Store, and Brookline Retirement Home.

Crissman Ishler organized each class into 4 groups of 6 students. Each student in the group was assigned to complete 3 hours towards their project. They were then required to write a group paper including research on issues such as poverty and hunger in America.

Each group also created electronic presentations of their research that they then shared with their class. These presentations included pictures of their volunteer work and their objectives. These formal presentations also gave these future educators a chance to practice their teaching skills.

The students said that they had learned a lot from this course as well as from the volunteer experience. Liz Hartigan said, “I am so glad I took Professor Crissman Ishler's class. When we were done, I felt extremely good about myself for reaching out and helping towards a great cause. I’m so glad I chose to do it with St. Vincent DePaul.”

Another student, Megan Simmons, said, “This experience was one I will always have with me and one that has motivated me to help out more.”

Crissman Ishler believes that it is a great way for them to learn how to build a strong peer support group as well as share a sense of community with each other and members of the community. “Plus, I think it is good that—as education majors—they learn how to work with others and start to give back,” she said.