Service Learning reaches out

St. John’s University seeks to carry out the Vincentian tradition of ministering to the poor, the marginalized and those most in need through the Service Learning program.

In an effort to introduce service organizations to the students, the University held a Service Learning Fair Feb. 6, in Marillac Terrace.

Students receive academic credit for participating in Service Learning, which requires students to participate directly in community service projects. By hands-on experience, students are better able to fully grasp the Academic Service Learning course concepts.

Students must dedicate a certain amount of hours to the program in order to meet requirements for the classroom.

“Service Learning is only required for students in classes where professors make it a component to the class,” Catherine Marasa, coordinator of Service Learning, said.

According to the National Youth Leadership Council in 1991, “Service Learning is a teaching/learning method that connects meaningful community service with academic learning, personal growth and civic responsibility.”

The fair is held every semester and representatives from 16 organizations – both on and off campus, were available for two hours to answer students questions. The organizations are selected by the Service Learning department in order to match students with an organization so that they will be able to fulfill their requirements in the classroom.

Participating organizations this semester include America Reads, Momma’s House, Providence House, Habitat For Humanity and Visiting Neighbors. Campus Ministry was also in attendance and offers St. John’s students and an opportunity to perform Service Learning throughout the semester.

“This is the student’s opportunity to be placed,” Marasa said. “Everyone is invited to see what Service Learning is all about, however the fair is specifically designed for those who are assigned to complete the program in their syllabus.”

More than 100 students took advantage of the Service Learning Fair this semester.

As per the University’s mission, the program allows students to show caring and compassion for those in need, while gaining academic experience within their field of study. They are able to use the City of New York and beyond as part of their classroom learning experience.

The next Service Learning Fair will be held in Fall 2003, where a greater turnout is highly anticipated.

For more information about Service Learning contact Marasa at ext. 5947.