Sudanese Refugee Service-Learning Project
In the spring of 2008, a class of Millsaps College students under the direction of Greg Miller, professor of English, created an extensive web site featuring stories of Sudanese refugees presented in video and text. The course was a service-learning offering supported by the Faith & Work Initiative. The material can be accessed at www.millsaps.edu/sudan.
This project followed upon a successful service-learning course in 2003 that produced a collection of stories from Sudanese refugees. The booklet, which garnered national attention, is entitled The Long Journey: Sudanese Refugees in Mississippi Tell Their Stories. It is available for download or limited copies can be obtained by contacting the Faith & Work Initiative.
Why engage in service-learning?
Dozens of studies on student learning demonstrate that hands-on projects enhance student mastery of course content, not merely in the sciences, where laboratory work has long been based on this recognition, but in other academic areas as well. Service-learning projects are one form of hands-on learning. They challenge students to connect in-class and text-based learning with practical experiences in real-world laboratories.
Colleges and universities are part of larger communities and have a responsibility to be good citizens of those larger communities. Service-learning projects offer colleges and universities opportunities to forge partnerships with community agencies and to contribute to the common good by supporting the work of these agencies.
Students who engage in service-learning projects within the context of academic courses are challenged to connect theory with practice and to consider service to others as one piece of the mature intellectual life. Service-learning projects help students make connections between their academic development and their character development; put differently, it helps them bridge the gap between academic affairs and student affairs, offering them a holistic model of human development.