Student Disconnect, Service Learning • The Tulane Hullabaloo

(Gabe Darley)

Tulane University prides itself on its dedication to public service, and the school’s commitment to this area has not gone unnoticed. In reality, The Princeton Review ranked Tulane as the No. 1 most committed to community service for 2017, 2018, 2020 and 2021.

This title is well deserved, as Tulane students have completed more than 2.5 million hours of community engagement initiatives in New Orleans and other parts of the world over the past 16 years. The impressive number of recorded community service hours is the result of the mandatory public service component, which is part of Tulane’s core curriculum.

To receive their diplomas, Tulane students must fulfill the civil service graduation requirement. Students must complete a 1000-, 2000-, or 3000-level service-learning course by the end of their fifth semester. After completing this first course, students can then take a 3000-level or higher service-learning course or participate in another 3000-level program.

Tulane’s strict specifications in this area not only benefit and give back to the community, but also enrich student education by allowing them to apply classroom concepts to the outside world.

However, it is possible that the school’s definitive and seemingly limited course requirements may lead to student frustration. Since service-learning is required for graduation, students can lack of passion or interest in the service-learning course they are registered.

Junior Gabrielle Gockerman, giving insight into her experience of her freshman service-learning course, said, “I had to go to Sacred Heart Academy, an all-girls school in New Orleans to do volunteering in an after-school program and it was discouraging when other volunteers did. not put in the same amount of effort.

Gockerman says the volunteer disengagement discouraged Tulane’s more enthusiastic volunteers as well as Sacred Heart students and made him doubt the “worthiness” of the work they were doing.

It is likely that disengaged volunteers, like those identified by Gockerman, lack passion and interest in the public service they do because their work feels forced, as it was not the students’ personal decision to participate.

This poses a problem for the Tulane utility, whose mission is to benefit New Orleans, the region, the world, and Tulane students themselves.

To minimize this problem, students should be made aware of the range of service-learning courses available to them and encouraged to choose a course that appeals to them, rather than taking the course that best suits their schedule. or the course taught by the supposedly “easiest” teacher.

In the spring semester 2022 alone, students can choose from 93 service-learning course options. Students should be encouraged to explore their options in depth, select what interests them most, and then immerse themselves and engage in this service-learning experience.

Additionally, students who struggle to find a service-learning opportunity they are passionate about, despite dozens of options, can find an alternative. Although enrollment in an actual service-learning course is required for graduation, a second course is not always necessary.

To fulfill the second part of the service-learning requirement, Tulane students have the option decline to take a course and participate in an alternative program: such as an academic service-learning internship, a faculty-sponsored public service research project, or a service-based study abroad program , among several other options.

Tulane’s rigorous and specific public service requirements may frustrate some students. However, this problem can be solved if information that describes the many service options and resources available to students is more widely disseminated, so students know they don’t have to just experience service. which does not excite or excite them.

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