Service Learning Sets a Record

Jacqueline Joseph, junior political science major
Jacqueline Joseph, junior political science major

By Nathan C. Martin

The women who stay at the Metropolitan Center for Women and Children in New Orleans are escapees of situations in which few of them would have imagined themselves. The center is a haven for victims of domestic violence, and while it offers women and children practical protection from their abusers, it also provides them empathy, support, and the knowledge that they are not alone. Along with the Metropolitan’s professional staff, Loyola students from assistant professor of criminal justice Rae Taylor’s class on domestic violence help instill this sense in Metropolitan’s clients.

Jacqueline Joseph, a junior political science major, said she used lessons about control dynamics from Taylor’s class to explain to Metropolitan women how domestic violence aggressors routinely manipulate their victims into feeling isolated, helpless, and make them think something particularly wrong with them has led to the abuse.

“You let them see that this just doesn’t happen to them,” Joseph says. “It’s great to see women learn that there are other people going through the exact same thing.”

Joseph is just one of the 754 Loyola students who completed service learning during the 2011 – 2012 academic year. During the spring semester alone, 416 Loyola students had 458 service learning “experiences”—meaning that some students, like Joseph, conducted service learning at separate agencies for separate classes during the same semester. This level of participation is a record for the Office of Service Learning, which launched in its present form in 2008.

The benefits of Loyola’s service learning to the New Orleans community are substantial. During the spring semester alone, the 416 Loyola students documented 13,675 hours of work at 44 partner agencies, such as the Metropolitan Center. This amounts to roughly $260,645 of in-kind contribution to the agencies. To look at it another way, the service learning in a single semester amounted to what would be 85 months—a little over seven years—of full-time work on behalf of the community.

But even these impressive statistics do little to illustrate the full impact of service learning at Loyola. The idea that a person should work on behalf of others is fundamental to the tenets of Jesuit education at Loyola. The idea that one should develop into a man or woman for others permeates classroom instruction and discussion, and indeed is outlined in the university’s mission. Service learning provides students hands-on experiences that enforce these ideas, preparing them to go forth after graduation and apply their Loyola education in ways that positively impact their communities.

Spring 2012 Service Learning Stats:

• 416 students had 458 service learning experiences
• 34 sections; 28 courses
• 40 of 416 students had more than one service learning experience (9.5%)
• 13,675 hours documented (avg. 32.9 hrs./student)
• Represents an in-kind contribution worth $260,645.49
• 44 partner agencies

View the complete summer 2012 issue of LOYNO.

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