Wayne State College

Service-Learning Wraps Up Spring 2024 Semester

Published Monday, May 13th, 2024

Service-learning at WSC
Sophie MacGregor, who is majoring in Elementary Education and Special Education K-6, works with a student from Wayne Elementary School during a literacy assessment project in Wayne State’s Service-Learning Program.

Almost 600 students completed service-learning projects for the Spring 2024 semester.

Approximately 595 Wayne State College students enrolled in 35 classes across numerous disciplines have finished their Spring 2024 semester projects in Wayne State’s Service-Learning Program.

This translates to 6,084 hours of service with 34 community partners, as compared to 574 students, 28 classes, and 5,393 hours of service with approximately 35 community partners during the Fall 2023 semester. Each year, hundreds of Wayne State students make a difference in the community by participating in service-learning projects, contributing nearly $250,000 to the region in community service.

In the Spring 2024 semester, students were enrolled in areas such as art, astronomy, business, communications, education, family and consumer sciences, history, human service counseling, math, music, and public and global health.

Lisa Nelson, director of the Service-Learning Program at Wayne State, said this semester’s schedule of projects was a team effort.

“As always, a big thank you goes out to the faculty, students, and community partners who choose to participate in service-learning projects and events each semester,” said Nelson. “I love reading all the post-service surveys where students express their gratitude for the hands-on opportunity to apply their academic skills to meet a community need. They also communicate how pleased they are to work with community leaders, teachers, and children. This really helps them feel like part of the Wayne community.”

“I am happy to say that the Service-Learning Program at Wayne State succeeds in fulfilling the college’s vision,” added Nelson.

The benefits of service-learning are numerous. They include engaging in career affirming experiences; research and conference opportunities; developing relationships with peers, community partners, and faculty; enhancing communication skills and an increased understanding of subject matter; and an increased sense of belonging.

Many Wayne State service-learning students served as instructors and mentors for the numerous projects they were involved in throughout the semester.

Raeana Spech, a senior majoring in Elementary Education and Middle Level Math Education at Wayne State, said service-learning projects have been vital for her as she prepares for the Fall 2024 semester. Spech has been involved in several service-learning projects at Wayne State.

“Service-Learning has prepared me for both student teaching and my future career as an educator, by allowing me to gain hands-on experience with students,” said Spech, a native of Omaha. “It also has provided me with the opportunity to apply what I am learning in my classes to real situations.

Spech added that she believes service-learning is a two-way street.

“I believe that service-learning is beneficial for both the college students and the elementary students,” said Spech. “I had the opportunity to practice my different teaching skills, including planning and leading lessons, while the elementary students had new experiences and received more one-on-one attention.”

For five consecutive years, Wayne State was recognized as a member of the national President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. In 2014, Wayne State was one of only three higher education institutions in Nebraska to receive the Honor Roll with Distinction in the General Community Service category.

Each spring semester, the Service-Learning Program concludes with the Ron Holt Civic Engagement Award recognition dinner. The award provides a $500 gift, trophy, and graduation recognition to a graduating senior who, while in college, has served as an exemplary role model and contributed to the service ethos of the college campus and community at large.

Participation in service and leadership activities and at least one service-learning project, placement, or event, academic or co-curricular project, must be included.

Wayne State’s Service-Learning Program began in 1999.