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Professors team up to offer community-based learning opportunities during Winter Term

During winter 2017, College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) faculty partnered to educate students on sexual assault, child abuse, human trafficking and women offenders and to collaborate with community organizations. Outreach activities were supported by a Health Promotion Mini-Grant and the CAS Small Enhancement Grant.

At the encouragement of Gabie Smith, Dean of Elon College of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), Carmen Monico of Human Service Studies and Rena Zito of the Sociology and Anthropology Department coordinated offer joint presentations from community organizations to their Winter Term classes. Monico taught a course on human trafficking and Zito a course on gender and crime, and the two worked together to host speakers addressing issues concerning both of their classes. 

Monico’s course provided students with a basic understanding of the history of human slavery and how human trafficking became modern slavery. Students learned and applied multiple perspectives, drawing from economics, sociology and psychology related to human trafficking abroad and in the U.S. Using a multidisciplinary approaches, students developed an action plan requiring the collaboration of the broad range of stakeholders. Zito’s course addressed the role of gender in criminal offending, victimization and experiences within the criminal justice system. 

Child abuse, Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking in the Local Community

January is the National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, as declared by the White House. As part of the national events taking place in January, students from Monico’s course collaborated with CrossRoads Sexual Assault Response & Resource Center and the Alamance for Freedom

Monico with Crossroads and Alamance for Freedom staff and volunteers
(AFF). Crossroads addresses issues of sexual assault and serves children sexually and physically abused. AFF is an anti-human trafficking group that works with law enforcement and service providers to confront sexual and labor trafficking in Alamance County.

On Jan. 6, Julie Budd from Crossroads and Courtney Dunkerton from AFF made presentations at the Moseley Center. Students from both courses were encouraged to get involved with the various anti-trafficking initiatives that the government and nonprofit organizations are developing to prevent human trafficking in our own backyards. Students from both courses engaged in a collaborative learning activity in which they identified common themes across both courses, and learned more about actions they could take to address these critical social issues.


Students getting ready at the Maker's Space to deliver arts activities with Boys & Girls children
course was supported by the Health Promotion Mini-Grant, and the CAS Small Enhancement Grant to develop with her students a range of outreach activities with these two community organizations with the purpose of preventing human trafficking. The activity with AFF is the SOAP project, which is a program disseminating the hotline number on the cover of soaps that hotels will be approached to place in their hotel rooms. Students were oriented as to how to reach out to hotel personnel to get them to partner with AFF in the SOAP project, organized the wrap up of 4,000 soaps, and delivered them to sixf nearby hotels. Students facilitated the education of 25 middle and high school students and 35 second- and third-graders in identifying red flags of child abuse, and recognizing feelings to enhance their emotional intelligence, respectively.

Women's Lives After Prison in the Local Community

Emma Mankin and Tiffany Bullard, representatives from Benevolence Farm, also presented to students registered in both courses on Jan. 18. They focused on re-entry issues specific to women offenders, including the primary challenges faced by women leaving prison in North Carolina, how children or women who may still be entangled with an abusive ex-partners, and how the farm seeks to meet the specific needs of current and expected residents.

Benevolence Farm provides an opportunity for women leaving prison to live and work on a farm where they grow food

Students engaging in collaborative learning after Benevolence Farm presentation.
, nourish themselves and foster community. A new Benevolence Farm resident attended the event. Although she did not talk, she was moved by the interest of Elon students in the lives of women after prison. Students from both courses engaged in a collaborative learning activity using the systems approach to explore the macro, meso and micro dimensions of the issues presented.

Doing More

Elon community members are encouraged to support the activities of all three organizations, in particular the Benevolence Shoppers Program, which gives customers at Company Shops Market (CSM) the option to round their purchase up to the next dollar amount, and donate the difference to the Benevolence Farm. The money collected will be turned into CSM gift cards that the Benevolence Farm residents can use towards their monthly food budgets.

To learn more about these community organizations, visit:





Carmen Monico,
1/31/2017 1:20 PM