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At Southeastern, many students are gaining insight and real world experience by participating in service learning, a program that combines class work with outside activities. More than just volunteerism, service learning helps students meet community needs, develop a sense of civic responsibility, and build critical, reflective thinking.
Students at Southeastern are involved in a wide range of service learning activities, ranging from rehabilitating damaged wetlands, to performing community health screenings, to teaching immigrants the basics of English.
As part of a Spanish language course, Clinton Ostarly and several other students worked with Latin American students at Independence Middle School.
"These are students of migrant workers, most of whom work in the strawberry fields," Ostarly said. "They know some English, but have some problems especially with scientific words and terms. We over-simplify the words and work to help them understand the terms."
Ostarly, who hopes to work with a government agency where he can use his Spanish frequently, says the service learning experience is not a one-way street.
"The experience definitely helped me," he says. "It helped build my vocabulary, made me more fluent in the language, and helped me develop people skills and tolerance."
"Southeastern is recognized for its partnership with the community, and that includes our students," says President Randy Moffett. "I'm proud and impressed when I see the range of activities in which our students are involved. We could never put a dollar value to their efforts, but through their work in area schools, with children and the elderly, in trying to make our communities and environment healthier, it's obvious that Southeastern students are giving back. In the process, they gain hands-on experience in an excellent learning environment; and we believe that should be part of the college experience."