ISU Headlines

Idaho State University First Year Seminar students complete hundreds of hours of community service

Posted December 6, 2010

Service-learning is a vital part of the curriculum for Idaho State University First Year Seminar students who, along with their peer instructors, have donated hundreds of hours of service to community groups and causes this fall semester.

ISU First Year Seminar peer instructor Francisco Ortiz explains his class's community service project during a poster session for the program held at ISU.More than 340 students out of 441 enrolled in First Year Seminar classes have actively participated in projects, along with 24 peer instructors, in activities ranging from helping collect and send care packages for the ISU Veterans' Sanctuary program, to putting on dances and bingo nights for LIFE, Inc., a private Developmental Disabilities Agency (DDA) and Residential Habilitation Agency that provides a variety of services people living with developmental disabilities in Idaho. Students completed projects in both Pocatello and Idaho Falls. They have provided nearly 900 hours of service.

And the giving hasn't ended – 21 students are scheduled to participate in the Aid for Friends Caldwell Park Encampment Project this weekend (Dec. 4 and 5) to raise money for the homeless and add a couple days' worth of hours to additional service.

First-year Seminar peer instructors gave presentations on their projects during poster sessions held at ISU-Idaho Falls and on the Pocatello main campus in early December.

"I loved participating in this project," said Ashley Olsen, a junior at ISU, who was the peer instructor for a group that organized a dance for LIFE, Inc. in Pocatello this fall. "I've always loved doing service projects and I love learning new things about the community."

Service-learning opportunities included working with the Roosevelt Academy, Aid for Friends, Jenni's Journey Foundation, New Day Resources, Homeless-Stand-Down, an autism awareness campaign, Renaissance Place, Veteran's Home, Idaho Food Bank, Developmental Workshop Inc., Festival of Trees (Idaho Falls) and Belmont Care Center.

"I am very proud of our students and of all the helpful, creative, projects they have been involved in. They are making a difference in our community and connections that will last," said Catina Tharp, Director of Academic Programs, ISU Student Success Center. "Community service is a cornerstone of the First-Year Seminar program."

Julie Kline, Service-Learning Coordinator stated, "A lot of time and effort has been put into the planning, implementation, and presentation of service-learning into the First Year Seminar program.  We are thrilled with the results thus far."

All the peer instructors who presented their posters are undergraduate students who are part of an instruction team for First Year Seminar classes. This was the first time poster sessions were held.  The peer instructors' assignment was to tell the story of the impact service-learning had on their students and the community. This semester's theme was cognitive impairment. Each semester the theme of the service-learning component changes, for example, last fall it was poverty and literacy.

First Year Seminar is a course that welcomes students into the learning community of Idaho State University. An introduction to campus resources, this course encourages and supports students' academic success and engagement with the university culture. Participation in First Year Seminar assists students to discover how to be in charge of their own education, to embrace the meaning and value of becoming lifelong learners, and to focus on collaborative learning and active engagement.

For more information, contact the ISU Student Success Center at (208) 282-3662.