La Crosse Global Citizenship Class Partners with the Hunger Task Force
To reinforce the importance of community responsibility in students, Globe University-La Crosse faculty develop service learning projects that identify challenges the community is facing and lead students in the creation of projects that support the needs of the community. Kathy Sims, Service Learning Coordinator and Global Citizenship Instructor, partnered with the Hunger Task Force to develop a service learning project to address the hunger needs of La Crosse and surrounding communities.
After consulting with the Hunger Task Force, Sims identified that the organization needed support collecting food information that they could provide to community members to enhance the donations the organization required. “The Hunger Task Force has limited resources. They have a very small staff and they rely heavily on volunteers to fulfill their mission. With the support from Globe University students, the Hunger Task Force is able to accomplish work that will help increase the quantity and quality of food donations in a time of need,” Sims explained.
To accomplish this task, Sims asked two student groups to help the Hunger Task Force and educate community members about hunger, food security, and nutrition information as it relates to the needs of the Coulee Region. One group of student researched hunger information and the services the food pantry provides. The students compiled their research into a brochure and PowerPoint presentation. The Hunger Task Force staff and volunteers will use this information with the community to increase the level of understanding about these issues in the Greater La Crosse community.
The second student group investigated the nutrition of the food the Hunger Task Force provided to the community. After their research, they suggested that the quality of the food could be increased if more lower sodium foods and whole grain options were avaliable to consumers. The students also created a report for The Hunger Task Force so they were better aware of the nutrition data.
With the information the Global Citizenship class provided, the staff and volunteers at the Hunger Task Force have a better understanding of the nutrition of the food they provide to the community. In addition, they now have tools to share this information with the community when requesting donations. Sims explained that “The Hunger Task Force can incorporate the brochures and presentation the students created into the community outreach information the organization provides.”
This service learning project was successful for both the Hunger Task Force and Globe students. “Students were able to gain insight into an issue that impacts people locally and globally. Nearly all the students acknowledged that they became more aware of the scope of the hunger problem or resources that they had not been familiar with before,” Sims said.
By connecting the needs of the community with the objectives of the course, Sims was able to instill the importance of community responsibility with her class and support the Hunger Task Force at the same time. “While there are many aspects of being a good global citizen, one of the things that is important to me as an instructor is that each student has an opportunity to become more aware of community challenges and an active part of community solutions,” Sims said.