When possible, I encourage my students to step out of their LITERAL comfort zone – to venture into the community around OSU – to see life through someone else’s lens.
I do this through many of my extra credit opportunities. I also do this – from time to time – with agencies. A few years ago, my 2367 students collected food for the Mid Ohio Foodbank and my “Helping Skills” class was visited by a representative of that foodbank to explain what they do and how we can help. Often, my 5440 students meet activists in the human sexuality realm and learn – firsthand – the challenges they face.
In Spring of 2016, I had two classes of 2367 students and they combined efforts to gather clothing (especially coats and OSU gear) for some students attending Beechcroft High School.
That effort far surpassed expectations and we created a board in Campbell Hall to commemorate the experience.
The whole effort came about organically. I spoke about students – in our own community – who walk to school without coats in the dead of winter. I talked about young people who have no college plans because that seed has not been planted.
My students were ready to help. Wow. What an amazing response it was. Over the course of two weeks, students brought in coats and hoodies along with t-shirts and fun items as well. They were encouraged to donate OSU items to foster college aspirations. The clothing drive was not attached to points or homework. They didn’t get extra credit for donating, but we collected more than 100 items in quick order.
With the assistance of Skye Zuza (at Beechcroft High School), several high school students in the special education program made posters about the drive to share with my students. Ms. Zuza was also instrumental in receiving and distributing the new and gently-used OSU gear to Beechcroft students.
- A special thanks to the students in both of my 2367 classes in the Sp16 Semester – for their generosity and interest in others.
- A special shout-out goes to Deston Howard (of my Monday/Wednesday class) who created the informative maps seen in the bulletin board image above. He took on that mapping project as an individual extra credit project and knocked it out of the park by providing all of us with a visual comparison of the demographics of the communities being served by a few of the wealthiest and poorest schools in our area.
- I am grateful to the staff at Beechcroft – They were essential in getting items to the students who had need and took the opportunity to talk to students about college aspirations.
Photo taken by – and used with permission of – Raquel Bahmer (student)