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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Student Spotlight: Nancy Parman

by Ann Abbott

    Nancy Parman was the kind of student I wish I would have been: smart, fun, socially-aware, involved and artistic. Here are some of the things Nancy did as a U of I undergrad:
Nancy wrote to me yesterday:

"Hi, Profesor Abbott! Que tal? The last time I wrote you you sent me some links to Ashoka and Kiva stuff, which I looked at and it's super interesting. Currently I am editing some video footage for Ashoka's website as a volunteer thing. It's so interesting to hear about the new and different ways people are using to fight global poverty. The video I'm editing is about distributing rural technologies."

I was blown away. She's volunteering for Ashoka! It's such a great organization.

But what I am particularly struck by is the concept of virtual volunteering. This is something that I want to emphasize in my grant proposal for social media and Spanish community service learning. As I see it, virtual volunteering can enhance Spanish community service learning in at least the following ways:
  • Students who need to make up hours can find an on-line project and complete it however it best fits into their own schedule--even at midnight, or on the weekend.
  • Some tasks that our community partners need, like translations, can perhaps be best accomplished through a community editing effort.
  • It can complement the face-to-face service projects they do locally, allowing them to form an idea of the the "global Hispanic community."
  • Students who want to continue to engage with the Latino/Hispanic communities can do so after their course is over.
  • It can engage students with limited mobility or other disabilities.
  • Students can bring their language skills to agencies and organizations that are beyond the immediate Champaign-Urbana area.

So, I will be very interested to follow up with Nancy about her experience working on videos for Ashoka. She's a model of what we can do when we combine social entrepreneurship, Spanish community service learning and social media.

Good luck with all your projects, Nancy!

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