Community Engagement During Shelter in Place
For the Ignatian Center’s Arrupe Engagement program, the COVID-19 Spring Quarter restrictions have created some unique challenges. Arrupe Engagement places SCU students in the community to learn through hands-on experience with non-profit organizations, fulfilling the Experiential Learning for Social Justice (ELSJ) component of SCU’s Core curriculum. During this “hands off” time of social distancing, how is it possible for students to engage with these community partners?
“When the University made the decision to hold classes on-line, we knew we had to rethink the program,” explains Dr. Jen Merritt, Director of Community-based Learning at the Ignatian Center.
“We met with our key partners; the Office of the Provost, the faculty teaching ELSJ courses, and community partner staff to consider the ways in which students might use virtual platforms to serve our surrounding community, especially in light of the enhanced needs presented by the Covid-19 outbreak.”
Together with these partners, the entire Community-based Learning team collaborated to reimagined how to continue the good work of the program, and provide SCU students, SCU faculty, and community partners with a meaningful alternative during this extraordinary time. Through a variety of offerings, students enrolled in ELSJ courses this quarter will be able to complete the requirement, albeit in a new, reimagined way.
Starting the first week of the quarter, SCU students will:
- listen to the recorded testimony of people who are delivering services on the front lines in support of marginalized populations
- attend live-stream meetings and zoom calls with neighborhood residents seeking grass-roots solutions to issues ranging from food insecurity to mental health crises
- respond to the needs of those served by community partners with options ranging from online tutoring in K-12 to assisting with food distribution
Through this collaborative effort, SCU students and faculty will continue to benefit from the wisdom, creativity, and dedication of our community partners.
“The generosity of everyone we spoke with was inspiring,” Merritt continues.
“I have always had such admiration for our community-based partners, and now, even more than ever, I am in awe of their dedication and their willingness to place themselves at risk in order to serve the common good in our neighborhood and beyond.”