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Students volunteer at local meal program for Laurier Serves event on Brantford campus
A group of seven students at Laurier’s Brantford campus kicked off National Volunteer Week by giving back to their community during the second annual Laurier Serves event April 7. The day was organized by the Residence Life and Community Service-Learning (CSL) departments, and included a volunteer opportunity at Soup for the Soul, a local meal program available through St. Andrew’s United Church.
CSL is a growing component of post-secondary education that integrates meaningful community service with classroom instruction and critical reflection to enrich the learning experience for students and strengthen communities for the common good.
"A day like Laurier Serves provides students the opportunity to focus on a particular social issue, to learn and to serve,” said Ravi Gokani, CSL coordinator at Laurier’s Brantford campus. “We had a remarkable group of young leaders come out, a testament to student engagement and student interest in social justice."
The Laurier Serves event consisted of an introduction to the day and a discussion about food security, facilitated by Gokani. Students spent the next three hours preparing for the meal program, including assembling almost 200 burritos. The day concluded with a reflection and debrief again facilitated by Gokani, which offered students an opportunity to discuss their experiences and what they learned through their participation.
“We were pleased to spend the day with Soup for the Soul, which has been a partner of ours for years,” said Gokani. “Brandy Greentree, who runs the program, is a phenomenal person and provided our students with an insight into issues of food insecurity in Brantford. The students really benefited from her experience and wisdom."
Earlier this year, CSL partnered with Laurier’s Human Resources department to offer a similar experience at Soup for the Soul for faculty and staff.
Overall, CSL has been included as a part of 47 unique courses that have been offered more than 160 times across 23 academic departments at Laurier since 2007. Nearly 1,500 students completed a course that included a service-learning component in 2012/13.
National Volunteer Week, which celebrates volunteers and inspires others to engage in their communities, runs until April 12.
For more information about Community Service-Learning, visit www.wlu.ca/csl or contact Ravi Gokani at firstname.lastname@example.org or 519.756.8228 ext. 5835. For more information about Soup for the Soul, visit www.standrewsbrantford.ca/soup.asp.