What We’ve Learned

The close of another academic year offers so much time for last-coffees, last-walks-around-the-Sunken-Garden, and last reflections with the students with whom I’ve had the pleasure to work this year. And because we in the community engagement world believe in the power of reflection to deepen our education, we’ve been reflecting a lot on what the year has meant to us.

In meetings with student leaders, and in my Community Engagement in Context class, I’ve asked students to share what they’ve learned. I’ve been impressed by the breadth and variety of it:

  • a greater perspective on the intersectionality of issues
  • the importance of sustainability and the dignity of those with whom we work in service
  • how complicated communities can be; it’s not only defined by proximity, but also by shared values, interests, and understanding
  • people are multifaceted, and sometimes when they mess up, other things might be going on for them – so it’s good to take the whole person into account
  • community engagement is best done when you balance the assets of the community with what you have to offer; and this balance is often difficult to strike
  • making an impact on children means also making an impact on their families
  • how to ask for help
  • meaningful work happens when you do it in a community of people seeking to live authentically
  • the issues of poverty and food waste are interconnected, but people working on those issues often are not collaborating
  • over-action and working too hard can be a form of violence against ourselves
  • when people let you down, you can call them out clearly, but be gentle about it with a perspective of growth
  • how to be vulnerable with things that are hard for you

What have you learned this year?


Categories: Academics, Community Engagement & Service, Faculty & Staff Blogs Tags: , , , , ,

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