CELEBRATE! presentations showcase service-learning

Several Elon students, including five Civic Engagement Scholars in the Class of 2012, on Thursday shared their work with classmates and faculty.


Students whose service-learning work has defined their time at Elon had the opportunity to share experiences from their studies during a “Student Achievements in Service-Learning” presentation Thursday afternoon.

The program on the second floor McCoy Commons featured a poster session and presentations witnessed by students, faculty, staff from the Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement, and even regional nonprofit leaders.

Senior international studies major Rebecca Berube worked with Sustainable Alamance, a nonprofit that assists former prisoners in their transition back to society, with researching the concept of a “Pay What You Can Kitchen” for local residents.

Such kitchens allow community residents in need of food to obtain menu items with whatever funds they are able to contribute, Berube said. Those who can pay for food are encouraged to do so. Those who are not are treated no differently.

Berube’s assessment of other programs helped Sustainable Alamance receive an $8,500 grant from the  New Economics Foundation to launch a kitchen in Burlington, N.C. The native of Christiana, Pa., said the support she received from the Civic Engagement Scholars program made her work possible.

“While I want to work on an international level, this is food justice on a local level in a very tangible way,” she said.

For senior human service studies major Kristin Greene, a native of Lenoir, N.C., the Civic Engagement Scholars program and the service-learning presentation during CELEBRATE! Week 2012 presented a moment to raise awareness of a peer support group that assists Elon students recovering from the loss of a loved one.

“This is a fantastic way to get word out about H.E.A.R.T. (Helping Elon Actively Remember Together),” Greene said. “They need the awareness. There are faculty and staff who said they now know we’re a resource for referring students.”

Other Civic Engagement Scholar posters on display included discoveries and findings related to free speech on Elon’s campus, course attendance at English as a Second Language programs, and needs of nonprofit organizations that assist critically ill children and their families.

Presentations outside of the Civic Engagement Scholars program were from students who examined community-based research for designing developmentally and culturally relevant interventions for adolescents, and from a student who shared results of a project in which Elon students worked with local youth during “Physiological Understanding Week” in Burlington.

The Service-Learning Faculty Advisory Committee sponsored the event.

“Students who have been doing this work for two or three years have really experienced what civic engagement is all about … the persistence it takes to make an impact on an issue you care about,” said Professor Pam Kiser, a member of committee who welcomed visitors to the event.