What do you think of when you hear the words “Community Service-Learning?” As Ms Carol A. Rodley, U.S. Ambassador, states community service learning is a way for “students to develop personal leadership. They can impact other people’s lives in the community, which in turn creates good citizens."
As part of a four and a half day event, from June 29-July 3, a UC team consisting of administrator, faculty, and students became part of a seminar that taught us about the importance of Community Service-Learning.
It is a deep and rich concept, however in some cases complicated. We need to realize that there are other relationships out there besides government to government. We are talking about people to people
relationships. By having people to people communication, we can be committed to supporting education and while meeting community development needs in Cambodia as a whole.
Chaktumouk National Theatre provided the opening ground for service-learning. Jeannie Kim-Han, Institutional Leader of the Seminar, talked about the symbolism of Chaktumouk. “It represents the four faces of the river, where all the rivers meet at once. This embodies the oneness of Cambodia.” Now we must show how important it is to give back to our community.
Ms. Gina Lopez, Director of College of Management says “community will create youth competency. Who will benefit? The community will. And who will be the volunteers? The students will.” Resulting in a reciprocal service and learning cycle that will never end.
As our slogan goes “in pursuit of knowledge and wisdom,” UC can benefit from service-learning. It is more powerful, in a sense that it can be connected to academic course work. It will allow students to realize its values and skills.
However, there needs to be class time devoted to service-learning activities, which entails out-of-class time devoted in the community.
California State University, Fullerton, one of the co-organizers of the event, came up with five objectives to service-learning:
a. Discipline-based knowledge
b. Knowledge of the community history, circumstances, and needs
a. Skills for planning, problem-solving, and implementing project
b. Research and technical skills
c. Communication and interaction skills
3. Community Involvement:
a. Learning to value community and civic engagement
b. Gaining skills useful for community involvement
c. Discovering opportunities for community involvement
4. Values and Attitudes:
a. Diversity; compassion; social justice; social responsibility
5. Personal Development:
a. Initiative; self-discipline; self-reliance; intellectual curiosity
The UC team gained incredible knowledge to envision the future with a “Community Service-Learning Center” on its campus.
The High Education for Development hopes for us to pass onto our students a vision that includes:
1. Lead students to embrace the duties of active citizenship and civic participation.
2. Take responsibility for helping students realize the values and skills of our democratic society and their need to claim ownership.
3. Educate students so that they understand how their knowledge can benefit society
4. Respond to the needs of the community without a political agenda and with the intellectual and professional capacities today’s challenges so desperately demand.
Acquiring new knowledge from the service-learning training, the UC team hopes to emphasize to students how service and learning can benefits them. This will in effect allow students to classroom theories to real world situations.