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College News

Students Produce Results in Sociology Service-Learning Course


Students Produce Results in Sociology Service-Learning Course

Two local non-profit agencies benefitted from the work of 22 Fisher students in the Agencies and Careers Sociology Service-Learning course this semester, walking away with a slew of promotional materials and new ideas.

The Al Sigl Foundation and Volunteers of America Western New York (VOA) worked collaboratively with students in Dr. Patricia Tweet’s class throughout the semester. The Al Sigl Foundation is a collaborative community network that provides high-quality, cost-effective real estate and business services to a growing array of organizations that serve children and adults with disabilities and special needs. And the VOA provides human service programs for the Rochester community, including emergency, transitional and permanent shelter, life skills case management, and affordable childcare for families in need. They also have several retail locations in the area, with proceeds going back into the organization’s program funding.

Service-Learning CourseAt the beginning of the semester, the students received a project assignment with a purpose - partner with local human service organizations and help them reach out to potential volunteers and donors.

“The idea, going into the project, was that students are familiar with the culture of the next generation of leaders and supporters of non-profit organizations, so they are the best qualified to create effective community outreach materials,” said Tweet.

The class was divided into two teams, each assigned to work with one of the organizations chosen, and then further divided into smaller groups of site visitors and campus-based researchers. Tweet got the project wheels in motion, but then left it up to the students to take charge. They had to make sure the site visits were taking place on a weekly basis, and consistently set up meetings with their teams outside of class to develop materials and produce status reports.

“The students did 95% of the work, and took complete ownership of the project,” added Tweet.

Diane DeRuyter ’14, a student in the course, said she truly enjoyed the service-learning aspect and that the weekly meetings with the executives at Al Sigl taught her more about the organization and its impact on the Rochester community. She wrote a mini-grant proposal to help fund a promotional pen the team wanted to develop for the organization, and the team received the grant.

“I took away some valuable experience, and gained a better understanding of what I would like to do with my career,” said DeRuyter. “The relationships we made with various leaders during our time working with Al Sigl could become a valuable resource in the future for internships or a potential job.”

And after just 10 weeks, both teams created full -color pamphlets, thank you cards, FAQ sheets, and a branded pen to complement the brochure for the Al Sigl Foundation and the VOA to use in their marketing efforts.

Service-Learning Course

From L to R: Havva Yoruk; Diane DeRuyter; Judith Whitfield-Finley, Director of Special Events, Al Sigl Foundation; and Kayleigh Nutting.

Service-Learning Course

Back row L to R: Students Evan Burnett, Chris Poles, and Tom Connelly. Front row: Students Morgan O’Donnell and Rachel Drojak, with Ruth Arbuckle, VOA Vice President of Resale Operations, and another VOA representative.

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