The CSL Office is off to a fast start to the 2016-2017 school year with the completion of the “Service, Leadership, and Sustainability” (SLS) Jump Start trip, where 2 student coordinators and 4 student facilitators lead 26 incoming first year students on a 5 day service trip throughout Northern Oregon. Students engaged in a variety of service projects while discussing the complex social and systemic issues that the organizations address. The organizations that students worked with included Zena, Potluck in the Park, Family Building Blocks, Boys and Girls Club, Salem Harvest, Marion-Polk Food Share, and Horses of Hope. Working with these organizations provided opportunities to for leaders to facilitate discussions centered around environmental preservation, homelessness, poverty, food insecurity, economic inequality, disability studies, among others.
Throughout the trip, students were encouraged to explore these issues in context of the three major concepts listed in the trip’s title: service, leadership, and sustainability. This involved developing personal leadership development and furthering an understanding of environmental, economic, and political sustainability while working at the service sites. This is a new addition to the program after re-branding the trip that was formerly titled “New Student Orientation to Community Outreach” (NSOCO).
Upon arrival at Marion Polk Food Share, students were met by Natalie Pate, a Willamette alum, who went on to write a story for the Statesman Journal about volunteer trips from WU and nearby Corban University.*
“That article was a cool opportunity to highlight a lot of the good work college students and organizations are doing in the community and promote awareness of these systemic issues” added Eric Lassahn, Director of Community Service Learning at WU.
The trip had a strong impact on the participants.
“Not to be too cheesy, but I really feel like this trip was life changing for me” said trip participant Kaela Roeder. “I learned so much about my new community and I plan on getting involved in other service learning projects in the future. Visiting Horses of Hope made a big impact on how I want to plan my college experience so that I can continue to work with the populations they serve.”
SLS also left the trip’s leaders with a strong impression.
“I was very inspired by the students and their interest in these complex social issues,” said trip facilitator Donald Swen, a junior physics major. “This trip makes me very excited for this new incoming class of first year students at Willamette.”
*Natalie Pate’s article for the Statesman Journal: http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/education/2016/08/23/university-students-help-local-food-share-fight-hunger/89207196/