December 4, 2016

Letter to the Editor: Webster needs a service-learning office for students

By Robert McMullen, Webster University adjunct professor

 

As I was reviewing my Keystone class and preparing to teach it in the spring, I realized that I would need to help my students find volunteer opportunities since Webster Works is only in the fall.

I searched the Internet for volunteer opportunities and found that St. Louis University and Washington University both had excellent websites to guide students to volunteer and advocacy opportunities throughout the St. Louis area.   

I also found a site for Fontbonne University and St. Louis Community College not only offered a guide to many kinds of service, but also a Semester of Service Certificate.

Our university provides students with many types of quality learning experiences on the main campus and throughout the world. But perhaps there needs to be more of a commitment to volunteering and service learning. Our students have the skills to enrich the St. Louis community.

I must admit that I have a special interest in volunteering. When I was a university student, I had the opportunity to volunteer as a tutor in a low-income community. This experience lead to a year in Volunteers in Service to America and a change to a fulfilling career as an elementary teacher.  Moreover, I will never forget the lessons I learned from the young boys I tutored, Rolando and Alex.

I realize that there are already some options for service, like tutoring and a service-learning course.  However, a service-learning office is needed on campus to empower our students to fully engage in meaningful and life changing volunteer opportunities.

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