Service to the community and to those less fortunate has always been in Eagle Rock’s DNA. We’re fortunate — we have numerous opportunities to provide community service, which we define as “a selfless contribution that helps and assists others, and which creates a positive impact.”
These “give back” opportunities are outside of our students’ regular responsibilities and discipline-related obligations, and offer on- and off-campus services that contribute to the well being or preservation of the broader local community (which Eagle Rock is part of).
Prior to the spring of 2016, Saturday mornings here at Eagle Rock operated as a half current events gathering that was followed by a Saturday seminar. These session, known as Saturday Seminar, were operated as full courses for possible credit, or seminars for which all Eagle Rock School students were expected to sign up and stick with.
Unfortunately, our staff noticed last year that students weren’t all that engaged in either the current events gathering or the seminars. In fact, through conversations with the students, we discovered that they were frustrated that they weren’t getting credit. They told us it didn’t help matters that they had to get up so early on a Saturday morning.
As a result, students would do whatever possible to sign up for a seminar that required the least amount of effort or engagement. For instance, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to watch a documentary.
So our staff started brainstorming seminar ideas with students and through that process, received feedback on the existing system. We also surveyed students to get a better understanding of their interests. Eventually, this evolved into smaller student cohorts planning the future of a new Saturday system, and thus begins the second trimester of Service Saturdays, which replaces the former Saturday Seminar and is expected of all Eagle Rock students, who are required to complete two full hours of service each Saturday.
These activities are supported, sponsored and monitored each week by a staff member or Mag7 — which is a group of the seven most veteran students on campus. John Guffey, our service learning instructional specialist oversees the whole program with the assistance of Omar Arteaga, our 2016/2017 Public Allies Fellow in Residential Life.
Enthusiasm is mounting for these outside activities, and below we’ve listed several examples of Saturday Service happenings both on and off campus:
- Most recently students supported in an off-campus Veterans Day ‘Benefest’.
- They visited a local nursing home, playing board games with elderly residents.
- Students sorted donations at a local non-profit thrift shop.
- Helped an Eagle Rock chef with kitchen duties.
- Joined campus maintenance activities with an Eagle Rock staffer.
- Students joined in a poetry and spoken word session.
- Students participated in an Eagle Rock Ambassador event.