The rewards of Service-Learning

October marked the beginning of a campus cleanup campaign that began as a result of the needs of the Grambling State University Laboratory High School. The campaign was established to assist the school with defraying the cost of cleaning the Robinson football stadium after home games.

The Office of Service-Learning implemented a service-learning project and formed a partnership with GHS, the men of Alpha Phi Alpha, Phi Mu Alpha and Kappa Alpha Psi fraternities and members of the Student Government Association.The three organizations took on the task of cleaning the stadium after each home game and saved the laboratory school over $1600, which can now be used for other essential needs of the high school students. In addition to cleaning the stadium, the Tigers and the Kittens encouraged people attending the games to join them in the clean campus campaign.

Most recently, a community organization joined in the effort to beautify the campus and has thus extended the project to beautify the track and old football stadium area. The community group is led by Joe Arrington, who wrote President Frank Pogue to volunteer the services of a number of community people.

The students and community people will come together, Friday to move forward with the clean campus campaign. Persons who wish to volunteer to assist with the project should contact, Dr. Rory L. Bedford in the Office of Service-Learning. Students will be able to earn service-learning credit for supporting this campaign.

Grambling State University has made positive strides towards institutionalizing service-learning, over the past few years. The Office of Service-Learning was established to assist faculty with infusing service-learning into the curriculum and maintaining service-learning data.

Effective fall 2008, a service-learning requirement was added to the General Education Program that requires all students to complete 160 hours of service-learning that have been approved by the director of Service-Learning.

Eighty of the 160 hours must be earned through service-learning courses such as English 101 and 102, First Year Experience 101 and 102, History 101 and 104, Mathematics 147 and 148 and Social Science 101.

However, other courses can also be approved as service-learning courses upon the instructor’s request and the appropriate review to assist students with receiving the designated number of service-learning hours. The other 80 hours are earned by engaging in projects approved by the director of Service-Learning, such as the campus cleanup project.

The university has implemented an approval process for service-learning courses that strengthens course objectives and the service-learning cycle. Each semester, faculty who wish to teach service-learning courses should submit an electronic copy of the course syllabus to the Office of Service-Learning for review.

The director of service-learning reviews the course syllabus for all proposed service-learning courses each semester to determine the quality and content of the service-learning component of the course. This measure is taken to ensure that the course is in keeping with the true definition of service-learning and guidelines established by the university.

A student who successfully completes the course will receive 20 hours of service-learning credit. It is very important that professor register their courses with the Office of Service-Learning each semester.