Worcester State University students participate in the 2011 Make a Difference-Day.

Worcester State Students Lend a Hand for Make a Difference Day

November 1, 2011
By: Worcester State University News

On Saturday, October 22, 21 Worcester State students took part in Make a Difference Day, a national day of service. Sponsored by Residence Life and Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement, four crews of students took part in one of four civic actions with some of Worcester State’s community partners.

The four crews were led by group leaders, Carleigh Murphy (Business Administration and Economics), Princela Boahene (Communication Sciences and Disorders), and first-year students Melissa Edberg and Margarita Ponciano.

The crews engaged in actions such as cleaning up the yard of a battered women’s shelter, painting a room for a low-income family, putting in some hours at Habitat for Humanity, and gathering at Food Day with the Regional Environmental Council, where students painted faces, conducted surveys, and, even dressed up as vegetables.

Make a Difference Day can be considered a high-impact learning experience. Many colleges and universities in America have begun to emphasize courses and programs that help students explore cultures, life experiences, and worldviews different from their own.

This diversity and global focus in learning often explore what George D. Kuh of the Association of American College and Universities recently called “difficult differences.” We live in a world of racial, ethnic, and gender inequality, of continuing struggles around the globe and in our immediate neighborhood for human rights, freedom, and, as the case may be, simple things like healthy food.

At Worcester State University, the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement was formed in 2006 and has continued to develop field-based experiential learning with community partners as an instructional strategy. A key element in these programs is the opportunity students have to apply the communication, social, and intellectual skills they are learning in real-world settings. These high-impact learning models can be seen as good preparation for citizenship, work, and life, both in the local community and in the emerging global, interconnected world. Along the way, these types of actions also have a positive effect on a community, and some fun might happen as well.

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