Another great semester of service learning has come to an end. While the final tally of students’ service hours is still being calculated, a congratulatory kudos is to be shared throughout the Hilbert campus for a job well done.
The students’ service learning experiences connected Hilbert with the community and provided students with hands-on application of topics covered in the classroom. For example in BI 110: Modern Topics in Biology taught by Dr. Meredith Ezak, a significant amount of time in the classroom is spent discussing cancer. Dr. Ezak sought out a partner where the students would see the real ‘human’ side to the disease that many have not yet had the misfortune to experience. Kaely’s Kindness Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused solely on meeting the emotional, social and physical needs of teen girls touched by cancer was able to provide a supportive environment for the student to gain this experience. Students helped with various functions and events within and for the organization and its cause. Students planned social activities for the girls served by the Foundation, researched the side effects of chemotherapy to make bags filled with comfort items for girls undergoing chemo treatment and assisted with outreach and fundraising events.
Once involved with their community partner, many students quickly recognize what their service contribution means to their community partner. One such student, Hunter Bielat went above and beyond for his service learning project in BI 110. Even after his service hour requirement was met, Hunter continued to volunteer. This included dressing up as the Grinch to meet and greet kids for a Holiday event at the Aurora Theatre that helped raise money for Kaely’s Kindness. In addition, Hunter took up private donations from friends and family to take a group of girls assisted by the Foundation shopping for Christmas. His efforts ended up raising $1,000 for the December shopping venture that occurred on a Sunday afternoon at the Galleria. While two of the five girls couldn’t make it because of health-related concerns, it didn’t stop Hunter from shopping for the girls off their wish lists.
Demonstration of Hilbert’s Franciscan values was evident throughout the many service learning projects performed this Fall. This semester Hilbert students and faculty worked closely with a variety of community partners. Students in BUS 200 (Intro to Business Management) planned a unique opportunity for a Special Olympic athlete to be an honorary Hawk. Students in HS 210 (Human Services and Rehabilitation Methods) connected with families to write their Wish Story for Make-A-Wish. Students in EN 101/104 (College Writing and Adv. College Writing) assisted the homeless by rolling up their sleeves to serve meals at Friends of Night People’s soup kitchens. Additional projects – both on and off campus – increased awareness of Type 1 Diabetes, poverty and refugee services to name just a few.