Students get head-start in giving back

Before Carolina classes began, 50 first-year students had already engaged in service-learning and giving back to the community. The students spent three days volunteering with local community partners as part of the Service-Learning Initiative (SLI) at the Carolina Center for Public Service.

SLI is a student-led pre-orientation program that introduces first-year students to the array of service opportunities in the area. Participants learn about and work with APPLES Service-Learning community partners, become more aware of local social justice issues, form lasting friendships with other students and are introduced to reflection as a tool for making meaning out of service experiences.

This year, SLI participants made floral table holders for the ARC of Orange County, sorted food at TABLE and worked in the garden at Hope Gardens. They also made birthday cards for A Helping Hand clients and helped with trail maintenance at Battle Park. On the final day of SLI, the students visited Central Elementary School in Hillsborough, N.C., to help teachers clean, organize and prepare classrooms for the school year.

“SLI is special to me, not only as a site leader, but also because we are leading through service,” says SLI co-chair Jessica Jenkins. “This is a wonderful way to connect to Carolina and make the campus a little smaller.”

SLI participants also learn about other campus and community service organizations and become connected with a network of older students who help first-year students with their transition to Carolina. After SLI, many participants become involved with other components of the APPLES Service-Learning program or choose to be involved with planning and leading SLI for future classes of incoming first-year students.

“APPLES and SLI expanded how I view service. I have learned a lot through SLI and met some amazing people doing great things in the area,” says Cayce Dorrier, another SLI co-chair.

Read more about SLI and APPLES.

Published August 20, 1013.