Critical Hands On Experience Provided Through Service Learning Class

By Alexa Saavedra

SAN ANTONIO—An added value to higher education includes students having an opportunity to go out in the civilian world, gaining hands-on experience by applying what they have learned in class. The Center for Service-Learning and Volunteerism office at Our Lady of the Lake University strives to give students this opportunity.

This program allows students to partake in classes with a service-learning component that allows students to work with local organizations and produce projects.

“It is important to give back to the community as it is one our core values at the Lake, this isn’t just service it is also career experience,” Krystina Irvin, CSLV Service Learning Coordinator, said.

One of many classes currently participating in a service-learning component is Civilization and Culture of Mexico. This class is an advanced Spanish course taken by students minoring in Spanish or completing the bi-literate certificate program. The class is currently working with senior citizens who live at poverty level in a geographic area adjacent to OLLU. These citizens are living under the William Booth Garden or Catherine Booth apartments provided by The Salvation Army.

In pairs of two, students will interview citizens who have a connection to Mexican culture. During these oral history reviews, students will collect information that reflects a connection to the material being covered in the class. After four weeks and multiple interviews, students will organize presentations about the life of these citizens titled, “A History and Story of a Senior.” They will then present them to the elderly community and partners of the William Booth and Catherine Booth Garden Apartments.

“Activities like this opens my eyes, whether it’s by meeting someone or volunteering somewhere, it allows us as students to build awareness and experience on what we are learning in class, it’s truly rewarding,” Africa Martinez said.

The presentations, “A History and Story of a Senior,” will be open to the public March 27 from 3:15 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the William Booth and Catherine Booth Garden Apartments.

For more information on service learning or this free event please contact Krystina Irvin, Service-Learning Coordinator by phone at (210) 431-3990, or email kmirvin@ollusa.edu.

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