Service Learning: Βringing together theory and community service

After a roller-coaster semester of an experimental class, the students of SOCSCI 399 presented their research on May 27th to the organizations, their instructors and the ACT community. The aim of this pilot course is to enable students to make visible connections between community service, critical reflection on their own learning process, personal and professional development, citizenship skills and values. Key in this context is that students engage in real-life frameworks for research and community service through projects of direct relevance to the partner, mostly non-governmental, organizations.
The participant students engaged actively with a range of research approaches and tools to apply theory on volunteerism, social research and community service – such as interviews, literature reviews, observation and, in some cases, many hours of support and personal creative work. In partnership with their mentors and ongoing mentorship by their tutors, students worked with/for refugee children, Roma children, homeless people, people with drug addictions and volunteers who assist such marginalized groups; organized a charitable fashion event within the ACT campus, or; met with one of the vice-mayors of Thessaloniki to discuss issues concerning the local LGBT community.

In sharing their findings with the participant NGOs and the rest of the ACT community it is hoped that further partnerships and initiatives of this kind will emerge, making service learning a sustainable good practice for learning and contribution to society.
Thanks goes to the following organizations: Arsis (The Arsis Shelter for Unaccompanied Minors; the Mobile School Intervention; The Arsis Library and the Arsis Shelter for Vulnerable and Homeless Individuals), The Center for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeast Europe, Enjoy Thessaloniki, KETHEA Ithaki and Thessaloniki Allios (Parallaxi).