By S-L Street Team Member Mollie McEvoy
In this time of extreme uncertainty and stress, the S-L team has faced unprecedented challenges in working alongside the Boston community. A handful of service-learning classes were able to continue their work through group projects or independent learning. Some classes even tested out ways to continue virtually connecting with the community. However, many of our service-learning classes operate through equal learning in the classroom and out supporting our partner organizations. With the social distancing mandate and students having to leave Boston early for the semester, many classes have been unable to carry on as usual. This, however, is not stopping the service-learning team from seeking out new ways to continue the partnerships established earlier in the semester.
Adele Julien, S-LTA for Education in the Community with Dr. Polly Atwood, informed me of the steps her class has taken to find a new normal. While her students can no longer be out engaging in direct service, they have taken to creating thoughtful reflections on the time they were able to spend with their community partners. Using live online courses through Zoom, Dr. Atwood and Adele are able to keep the conversation going in the classroom. Adele recounts her happiness to see the whole class together on Zoom two weeks ago. With international students and people in other time zones, Adele stated it was refreshing to see everyone’s faces and feel some sense of normalcy in their conversation.
Adele is a first-time S-LTA this semester and definitely did not expect this past month’s events to be potential challenges when she started the position in January. However, she has shown clear S-L determination, and powered through the semester in spite of all these changes. In addition to being an S-LTA, Adele has another on-campus job that has been continuing remotely. She is also an undergraduate student and taking graduate-level courses. It is clear that there is a lot on her plate. Adele describes the nuances of adjusting to such a drastic change in routine for herself, while also being a support to students who are going through very similar issues.
Being a student leader at this moment in time is definitely an interesting challenge. Service-Learning students continue to show just how much grit they possess by continuing on as a resource to students despite not being in a normal classroom setting. Weekly Street Team meetings continued up until the end of the semester through a virtual platform. S-LSLs were able to close out committee projects and find ways to engage partners virtually and interview individuals remotely. S-LTAs have been carrying out their bi-weekly meetings online as well, maintaining a close support group. Being a student leader in a time of change can be scary, but S-LSLs have been able to lean on each other, their faculty members, the S-L staff, and, of course, community partners in order keep going strong until the end of the semester, all while staying six feet apart.