#CapturingCommunity: Alexandra Castillejo

Name: Alexandra Castillejo
Role within Service-Learning: S-L Teaching Assistant

College Affiliation: College of Science
Major: Environmental Science

How are your values expressed through your community engagement and Service-Learning work?
I believe in focusing on and utilizing the assets of those we’re serving in any situation, whether that be in direct service of a community organization or in service of a friend. We often think we have all the answers and that our way is the best way, but we have so much to learn and gain from those we serve. One of the concepts we emphasized throughout the semester was Asset-Based Community Development, and I think an asset-based perspective can (and should) be applied to all aspects of life.

What is one thing everyone should know about Service-Learning?
Service-Learning takes many different forms! No one form is better than another, and there’s something to get out of all the different types of S-L. Ultimately, however, it’s all about whether or not you make the most of the opportunity to engage and throw yourself into the work.

Did you find Service-Learning or did Service-Learning find you?
S-L found me, and I couldn’t be more grateful. I saw information about becoming an S-LTA and thought the position couldn’t have been a better fit, and I was right.

What is your favorite memory of Service-Learning?
Watching students’ final presentations was one of the best parts of the semester. I saw how hard students worked and how far they came with their projects, and it was great to see the results of their efforts. The different perspectives and personalities of each group really showed in their conclusions, and I loved seeing the diversity they brought to the project.

If Service-Learning were a food, what would it be and why?
A seven-layer bar because it has a little bit of everything and can appeal to everyone. All the different flavors in a seven-layer bar are like all the different types of people and experiences in Service-Learning; they’re good on their own but even better together.

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