Published on November 19th, 2012 | by Dave Whitaker0
PHOTOS: Students Observe Veterans Day Through Community Service
Photo by Michael Gates, Assistant Online Editor: Some students signed a postcard to be sent to troops and shared their thanks on the chalkboard.
Dave Whitaker, Contributor
Michael Gates, Asst. Online Editor contributed to this story.
Service Learning students helped Lewis celebrate Veterans Day by holding a veterans recognition event on campus Nov. 12.
The event was organized by students from an ethics class taught by Dr. Tracey Nicholls as part of a Service Learning project. The ethics students set up a table outside Charlie’s Place to collect donated toiletries during the day. The students also offered anyone walking by the opportunity to fill out a postcard with messages of support to be sent to veterans or those currently serving. There was also a chalkboard where students and faculty were able to write messages of appreciation to those who serve.
Students who participate in Service Learning courses engage in community service while completing their class work.
Nicholls said that centering her class’ Service Learning project around Veterans Day was something that intrigued her.
“I wanted to incorporate Service Learning projects that look at questions of how people deal with various groups of marginalized people,” Nicholls said. “I was particularly struck by how veterans enter that picture.”
Sophomore Stephanie C. worked the table with two of her ethics classmates during the lunch hours.
“Would you like to send a note of thanks to our troops?” she asked passersby.
While she made her pitch, Tony N., a junior, and Kwaku Amoabin, a senior, stood by with postcards in hand. Most of those who stopped wrote a line or two of thanks on a postcard, but others expressed their feelings on a nearby floor-to-ceiling chalkboard.
One student who stopped grabbed a piece of chalk and wrote, simply, “Thanks bro.”
“It’s good to do this, because it gives people some way of recognizing Veterans Day,” said Amoabin. “It gives us an outlet to say thanks.”
When Ashley Killian joined the trio at the table, she pointed out that some Lewis students are military veterans. In fact, Lewis was recently named to the Military Friendly Schools list by Victory Media. Victory Media works with military personnel transitioning into civilian life. Its 2013 Military Friendly Schools list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans and spouses as students and ensure their success on campus.
This marks the fourth time Lewis has made the list.
The anchor of the Service Learning events was the evening screening of “The Ground Truth,” a documentary that explores the challenges veterans face when returning to civilian life.
Nicholls has weaved other service learning projects into her ethics class, including a visit to St. Leonard’s House in Chicago and MorningStar Mission in Joliet. Both organizations work with the homeless population.
“Whatever service project we do, we tie it to our ethics class,” said Killian. “We talk about the experience in class, and how it connects to what we’re learning. It’s interesting because our class has students with different majors.”
Before the start of the film, Nicholls declared the service learning Veterans Day project a success.
“The event started at 9 a.m. today, and when I stopped by at 10:30, they only had one postcard,” Nicholls said. “Now I’ve got a stash of bags of toiletries in my office. It was really, really incredibly successful.”
Photo above by Michael Gates.