Story by Richard Contreras
Thirty-one community partners set up tables to share information and experiences with students on the SU-Quad during the Service Learning Fair on Feb 7.
The event offered the chance to register with one of over 100 non-profit organizations that have partnered up with Palomar College through the Service Learning program.
The goal of the program is to allow students to give back to the community while reflecting on their sense of civic responsibility and academic goals.
Many professors have incorporated the program into their curriculum as a class requirement, assignment option, or extra credit opportunity for students.
Dr. Angela Kong, the administrative student learning coordinator said the program allows students to give back to their community while also gaining real-world experience.
Kong suggested that “being able to work and volunteer at local non-profits is invaluable. Being able to apply what they’re learning in the classroom to the field, that learning becomes more real so they can make that connection.”
This volunteer work also helps students to strengthen skills such as completing resumes, scholarship applications, and 4-year university transfer paperwork. Additionally, the program allows professors and community partners to nominate students for an Excellence in Service Learning award.
Mackenzie O’Connell is a former Palomar Student who was hired by Coaching Corps after volunteering with them through the Service Learning program. She returned to Palomar College to share her story at the fair.
When asked about her volunteer work, O’Connell said, “It’s something that I’m incredibly passionate about; something that I hope to do for as long as I possibly can. If I can continue to share this passion and urge anyone else to have the same experience that I have, that would be the biggest reward for me.”
O’Connell claimed that Service Learning has made her a more well-rounded person and gave her a sense of purpose that she didn’t previously have.
If students or faculty are interested in taking advantage of Service Learning opportunities within their community, more information or to register for service learning can be found here: https://www2.palomar.edu/pages/servicelearning/.