Feb. 17, 2009
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:
SRU ranks among nation's top schools for service learning
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - "Beyond the Books, Guide to Service-Learning at Colleges & Universities," which profiles the nation's top institutions for service learning, has selected Slippery Rock University for inclusion in the 2009 edition.
Four institutions - SRU, Princeton, New Mexico and Appalachian State - are featured in a chapter on schools that teach students to use academic skills and knowledge for community projects in education, homelessness, inequality and the environment.
"This publication identifies colleges and universities that are walking the talk. SRU is producing caring citizens who are going to be problem-solvers in their communities and places of work for years to come," said Alice Kaiser-Drobney, SRU assistant professor of social work and director of SRU's Institute for Community, Serving-Learning and Nonprofit Leadership.
The article, "Community Service is 'at the Heart' of Slippery Rock University," references SRU's I CARE House that provides programs to 100 disadvantaged children each month in New Castle. It also reports that SRU students show leadership by volunteering for on- and off-campus programs targeting disabled veterans, the homeless and mentally ill.
Along with the article, the guidebook includes a snapshot of the University and its flagship service programs and quotes students who volunteer.
"Our inclusion in this book is a tribute to the alumni, faculty and current students who have chosen to use service learning as a way to enhance their learning and the world in which they live," Kaiser-Drobney said. "Our mission is to equip our students for the complex, inter-related problems - the messy issues - that they're going to be dealing with in the 21st century. "The book recognizes that we're serious about that mission."
SRU's service projects often include classroom lessons and provide career experience whenever possible. For instance, many of the students who work at the I CARE house are education majors who plan to become teachers.
Another recent project that incorporated classroom learning and action was a cardboard village project on homelessness. Students built and occupied cardboard shelters on campus for 24 hours, despite sub-freezing temperatures, in order to empathize with the homeless. They studied homelessness and collected scarves and hats for local shelters.
"Service learning and civic engagement are at the core of what Slippery Rock University is about," Kaiser-Drobney said. "We want students to be aware of and act on the issues that are going to shape their lives."
The 235-page "Beyond the Books, Guide to Service Learning" is published by Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co. and is available online.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.