Active & Ongoing Projects

Center for Service Learning and Community-Based Research

A  History of Olivet Boys and Girls Club Service Learning-CBR Project

College students in service learning and community-based research courses will write a history of Olivet over the course of the Spring 2013 and Fall 2014 semesters. There is a rich history to this organization, founded in 1898, and Olivet staff and alumni are excited to share their stories and provide access to a substantial archive.

Two classes in Spring 2014 to be taught by Dr. Laurie Grobman will participate in writing this history. ENGL 202H, Honors Writing in the Humanities, will be designed around this project and will focus on issues such as the rhetoric of history and histories of community organizations (as a genre). Students in ENGL 491, Capstone in Professional Writing, will also be researching and writing for the book. Also in Spring 2014, Professor Jill Burk's students in CAS 222 Foundations: Civic and Community Engagement will contribute to the overall project.

The project continues in Fall 2014. Ray Mazurek's students in Introduction to American Studies will write oral histories of several Olivet alumni. Social studies teacher educator Jessica Schocker's students will create and implement an elementary school project to share the club's history with the children.

Producing and disseminating a written history of this community organization will be empowering for the children attending now and in the future. Currently a largely Hispanic population, these children will see themselves as part of a rich legacy of breaking the cycle of poverty through education, hard work, and ethical values. The written history will also serve as a powerful fundraising tool for the organization itself.

The Vietnam War in History and in Memory

Students enrolled in Michelle Mart?s American Studies 100 class will study the causes and course of the Vietnam War.  They will also learn about the effects of the war on the soldiers who fought in it by interviewing local Berks County veterans.  The students will write a narrative essay about the veteran they interview, and those narratives along with a transcription of each interview will be compiled into a book and locally published.

Environmental Science

Students in Dr. Mahsa Kazempour's BI SC 03 participate in the Environmental Awareness and Community Action Project which involves researching an environmental issue of their choice (local, national, or global) and then taking action to support community actions to address that issue by protecting the environment or educating the public. In Spring 2013, students were involved in a variety of projects with the Berks County Parks Department, Monocacy Hill Conservation Association, Nolde Environmental Education Center, Hawk Mountain, and the Audobon Society. They removed invasive species and planted native species; created rain gardens; developed signage, brochures, and education materials; and cleaned up rivers and trails. Students who enroll in BI SCI 03 in Spring 2014 will complete similar service learning projects.

Introductory Macroeconomic Analysis and Policy

Students in Dr. Jui-Chi Huang's Econ 104H completed a service learning project with Friend, Inc. Community Service or the Greater Berks Food Bank to enhance their studies of U.S. poverty from an economic perspective. Friend, Inc. provides a food pantry, case management, budget counseling parenting support groups, and financial crisis interventions. Greater Berks Food Bank collects, stores, and distributes food to more than 270 charitable agencies, including Friend, Inc. Students provided 15 hours of service to one of these organizations to further their understandings of poverty from an economic perspectives as well as reflect on their experiences as they relate to their understandings. Students who enroll in ECON 104H in Spring 2014 will complete similar service learning projects.

For more information, e-mail Dr. Laurie Grobman ([email protected]) or call 610-396-6141.