Service Learning in the Urban Core: A Call to Action (Educational Success)

Let's empower all of our colleges and universities to impact our neediest communities through service learning and student philanthropy!

There have been a lot of great developments lately on both sides of the river, all of which have great potential to improve our communities. Despite the progress, many of our neighbors still struggle to survive.

Let's imagine a neighborhood where over 84% of its residents live in poverty, and the average person makes just over $10,000 annually. This isn't the third world. Despite all of the developments, this is the reality of life for many in Over the Rhine. (2010 Census Tract 17)

Let's imagine a neighborhood where over 46% of its residents live in poverty, where 71% of its residents have a high school education or less, and a place with 11% unemployment. This isn't Detroit, and this isn't East Saint Louis. This is Newport's West Side. (2010 Census Tract 505)

What if we funded all of our colleges and universities to work together to radically change our neediest communities? Imagine the power of dozens--or perhaps hundreds-- of service learning or student philanthropy courses working to create real change where it is needed the most! What if we gave our college students real world, real work experience, while also truly generating a culture of contribution-- an entire generation of philanthropists and change makers?

Not only would this benefit our communities, but it would also benefit student learning! Research shows that service learning and student philanthropy contextualizes learning, helps students develop intercultural skills, and helps students to become engaged in our communities. These experiences can also help with retention, GPA, and graduation rates. (See Clayton, Bringle, and Hatcher, 2012)

What makes your idea different or unexpected:
While Vision 2015 and Agenda 360 highlight service learning as a means to vibrant communities and educational excellence, our local higher ed institutions have never truly worked together to improve our communities through service learning or student philanthropy. This could be their call to action.

How will your idea make a difference in Greater Cincinnati:
This idea of high-impact, collaborative service learning and student philanthropy experiences would be targeted in our neediest neighborhoods. Our college students have the potential to radically and creatively change our communities for the better.

Why do you think people will recognize or remember your idea after it comes to life:
This collaborative model of service learning and student philanthropy would be the first of its kind in the nation. Also-- research shows that service learners and student philanthropists are more likely to volunteer in their communities than those who do not participate in service learning or student philanthropy. This idea could inspire an entire generation of philanthropists and change-makers to continue their work in their communities.


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Submitted by: Keith Lanser

Website: http://youtu.be/-md_Ro86IY8


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