Service learning, a relatively new concept at Arkansas Tech University, is designed to make students engage in community service projects and give real-world experience to accompany classroom learning.
Service learning was originally incorporated into sociology and psychology classes last semester by Dr. Jason Warnick and Dr. Monica Varner.
“What service learning does is it tries to get students engaged,” Warnick said. “It gets students engaged, gets them out into the world to make the world a better place. [It] basically it promotes civic engagement.”
Warnick said other departments, such as nursing and engineering, have been looking at service learning to see how they can incorporate it into their classrooms.
“Instead of just focusing on themselves, it gets them out of that mindset and start thinking about we and us and our,” Warnick said. “It gets them to think about the world outside of the classroom.”
Service learning activities that have been done in the past include Be a Match, which is a bone marrow registry, and Brain Fair, where students involved with service learning go to a local elementary school and teach small groups of children about the brain.
Meranda Henderson, a junior psychology and sociology major from Pottsville, said she really enjoyed service learning.
Henderson worked with the Boys and Girls Club, the bone marrow registry and helped with a local food drive.
“It gives me a feeling of self-worth,” Henderson said. “It helps me put roots into the community, that way when I’m out of school, I can find ways to expand.”