Service Learning Scholars complete 10,000 hours of service

By By Marjorie Mackey

By Marjorie Mackey

The U honored 23 students at commencement on May 2, for completing 10,000 hours of community service as part of the Bennion Center’s Service Learning Scholars Program.

According to the Lowell Bennion Community Service Center’s website, “the Service Learning Scholars Program is an academically challenging program that supports and recognizes University of Utah students in addressing community needs.” The program has also sought to incorporate community service with classes at the U.

Students are required to complete a minimum of 400 hours of community service and 10 credit hours of service-learning coursework. They must also write eight pieces of reflection on their service and complete a capstone project, said Sara Barclay, coordinator for the program.

“One of the best things about the Service Learning Program is that it allows students to identify and positively meet needs in the community,” she said.

The program also allows students to take the initiative on an issue that is important to them, she said.

Nicole Nguyen, a U alumna, decided to join the program because she thought it would be good on her resume and her past involvement with the Bennion Center.

She designed her capstone project by working with the Utah AIDS Foundation. Last year, she wdirected Campus AIDS, a student group that offers information and provides service to those affected by AIDS. The purpose of the project was to facilitate a relationship with the Harm Reduction Project, a non-profit organization that offers support resources for people with AIDS. Nguyen thought the project would be a good resource for the AIDS foundation to better help its clients.

“It taught me a lot about…community service (and) the importance of behind-the-scenes work,” Nguyen said. “(It also) exposed me to the way people judge, and their moral dilemmas toward topics like this.”

Aimee Hickey, another Service Learning Scholar and a U alumna, taught a Latin culture class at Dilworth Elementary School for eight weeks. She focused on a different Latin American country each week and introduced the culture with fun activities.

“It was nice to help the kids realize that there are other people out there and they have their own cultures,” Hickey said.

Barclay said it was wonderful to work with these students on their projects.

“I’m extremely pleased to be able to recognize them for their achievements,” she said.

Applications are being accepted for admission into the Service Learning Scholars Program beginning Fall 2008.[email protected]