Service Learning Simplified
By Lauren Beeman
When Ray Heilmann was named director of campus ministry on June 1, 2016, one of his duties became to oversee the service learning requirements for students.
“Because we call it ‘service learning’ there is more emphasis on what you are learning from your service, rather than just doing it,” Heilmann said.
All traditional Quincy University students are required to complete 30 hours of service in order to receive their diploma upon graduating.
Transfer students with more than 24 credit hours are required to complete 20 hours of service learning, and transfer students with over 48 credit hours are required to complete 10.
The process to complete service learning, to many students, is seen as a chore or an obligation rather than something positive and rewarding.
Junior Erin Flaherty believes that the service learning process is complicated and confusing, which is what she thinks makes it unattractive to students.
“I think a reconstruction of the process that students have to go through in order to obtain these service hours should be considered,” Flaherty said.
Heilmann agrees that the process of communicating the overall concepts and procedures of service learning need to be altered and improved, especially in regards to educating freshmen.
Students like senior Brady White feel the process could be simplified to better accommodate students with busy schedules.
“I feel like we should just be able to complete our service hours without having to go to the before and after meetings,” White said.
However, the process of completing service learning is much simpler than most students would believe, and Heilmann is working to make it that much easier and simultaneously rewarding for students.
Students looking to complete their required hours must first attend an orientation. QU offers the orientation meeting six times a year. Students have to attend only one meeting to earn service credit.
The next service learning orientation meeting will be held on April 3 at 3:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. in Francis Hall room 234.
After attending orientation, students are required to select an approved service activity. Already approved service sites include locations like Quanada, the Salvation Army Family Store, Catholic Charities and the American Red Cross.
However, this does not mean students are limited to the already approved list of service sites. Heilmann encourages students to find a place of service in which they are passionate.
“The more experience you have, the more experience you have working with different types of people” Heilmann said.
If a student finds a place of interest, he or she simply needs to speak to Heilmann to ask permission to complete service hours there.
Heilmann encourages students to branch out to different locations to experience a multitude of service-based environments. He suggests students break-up their hours between different service sites.
Once a student completes service hours and fills out the service log, he or she is required to attend one reflection meeting. Reflection meetings are also offered six times a year. Along with the reflection meeting, students are required to answer a series of questions in a one page reflection paper.
There are two remaining reflection meetings for the spring semester, April 3 and May at 4 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. in Francis Hall room 234.
Students who are unable to attend a reflection meeting are encouraged to schedule a time to meet with Heilmann to do a one-on-one reflection.
After attending the orientation, completing the actual service and the service log and attending the reflection, a student receives credit for his or her service hours.
While 30 hours is the requirement, it is also the minimum requirement. QU students are encouraged to complete more than just the expected.
Students are additionally able to complete service learning hours over the summer, pending university approval, and may also fulfill service requirements through participation on mission trips.
“It’s more than me, and it’s more than you. So many good things happen through the ripple effect of helping, which is something we see through our mission trips,” Heilmann said.
Sophomore Alex Begnel attended the mission trip to Haiti and feels the experience shaped him as a person.
“I think the best avenue for growth of any kind- mentally or physically- is when we step outside of ourselves in the realm of something that is unordinary to us…and how we react and our attitude towards the situation shapes who we are and what we become,” Begnel said.
Students looking to complete service learning hours or learn more about the process can stop by and visit Ray Heilmann in the Campus Ministry Office. Heilmann can also be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org