Tuesday, July 17, 2012

High Caliber Students Take Spanish Community Service Learning

This is video of a "toxic tour" by Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) in Chicago, Illinois.

by Ann Abbott

I received an e-mail from a student who wanted to register for "Spanish in the Community," but she hadn't taken the pre-requesite course, "Oral Spanish." Read her message below, and I think you will be struck by the same things that impacted me:

  • This student can definitely skip the prerequisite course.
  • Some of our students are truly engaged citizen-students, eager to bring that engagement into their college education. We need more courses for them.
  • This student knows how to compose an intelligent, actionable e-mail message.
  • This student has a lot to teach me and her classmates.
"My name is X and I am a Senior in Urban and Regional Planning, I  was hoping to enroll in your SPAN 232 class.

"I do however see that there is a SPAN 208 prerequisite.  Unfortunately, I have not taken Spanish at the University beyond having taken a proficiency exam.  However, I am a native speaker and I can read, write, and speak fluently.

"Previously, I have participated into two other civic engagement classes (SOCW-199  Service Learning in Washington D.C. and FAA-199 East St. Louis Action Research Project)  and thus I became really excited when I saw this class was available.

"This summer I am currently interning at the LittleVillage Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) in Chicago, Illinois and thus I am gaining a great deal of experience working within a community where the predominant language spoken is Spanish. I am currently working on the Public Transit Campaign which involves empowering the Hispanic community so that they demand that public transportation be available in their community. Additionally, the Transit Campaign works with our Clean Air Campaign that helped shut down the Fisk and Crawford Coal Plants, and our Urban Agriculture/ Open Space campaign which works with community member to teach them about locally grown produce and the importance of a healthy diet. 

"That said, I extremely interested in your class. I really feel that I can offer a great deal to this class from both my academic/professional experiences and from my personal experiences as an individual who resides in a predominantly Hispanic community."

Social Entrepreneurship in Higher Education Events

by Ann Abbott

I received an e-mail about ThinkImpact's upcoming event--The Huddle --where educators will work together in teams to come up with ways to increase/enhance social entrepreneurship education with experiential education. (The video above describes ThinkImpact's work.)

That is precisely what I do. My course on "Spanish & Entrepreneurship" combines content about social entrepreneurship with service learning. It is a powerful combination, and I hope that a lot of great ideas and momentum come out of The Huddle.

I asked Brittany Koteles, my former student and social entrepreneurship player extraordinaire--if she was going to the Huddle. She knew all about it, but it sounds like she won't make it. She did encourage me to attend the AshokaU Exchange in February. I think I will start to put together an abstract now. I've always wanted to do a TED-style presentation. (I also really want to put together a Ted Ed video sometime soon; see the video for an example.)

Brittany is in Washington, D. C. right now, working on the AshokaU Influencer event. 

I began teaching social entrepreneurship in 2006, when few people had even heard of it. It is exciting to see all the growth in higher education's attention to social entrepreneurship.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Student Spotlight: April Nwatah

by Ann Abbott

One of my amazing former students, April Nwatah, with a friend from her work in Limón, Honduras. Still learning and serving.