Publications and Research

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2015

Abstract

Community Days, an innovative initiative to foster community service and civic engagement at the City University of New York’s new Guttman Community College, encourages students to perform volunteer work around the city. What makes the program unique are opportunities for students to take self-directed excursions and enjoy free resources in the city—activities not usually associated with service-learning. Including a component that the students identify as “Fun Day” in a program dedicated to volunteer service strengthens the program and increases the enthusiasm of the participants. This essay examines reflections completed by the students after participating in Community Days, considering their initial expectations and apprehensions, their experiences in unfamiliar environments, and the connections they draw between community service and “fun.” These reflections suggest that the two program components reinforce one another in building social capital. Independently navigating unfamiliar areas of the city challenges them and builds their sense of autonomy and control. Successfully completing new challenges, however simple—whether serving meals in a soup kitchen or riding the Staten Island Ferry—gives them an experience of earned success. Because Guttman allows the students agency to decide how (and ultimately if) they will participate, they take full possession of their accomplishments.

Comments

Originally published in the Journal of Public Scholarship in Higher Education

 
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.