Globe Service Learning Project Supports Community Meal Program
What do you get when you mix math and technology with food? A more efficient way to deliver hot meals to community members in need.
Deb Wolden, Information Technology (IT) Instructor at Globe University lead her students in the creation of a recipe of efficiency for delivering meals to La Crosse shut-ins. Mixing in the objectives of the Decision Systems class, Wolden partnered with Mobile Meals and cooked-up a terrific project for her students to combine classroom knowledge to solve real-world problems.
“One of the topics covered in the course is the Hamiltonian circuit, that is, the mathematics of finding a very good route between a number of points. This service learning project gave the students the opportunity to use this theory and solve a real-world problem,” said Wolden.
The students applied the information they learned in the class to the needs of Mobile Meals, a local organization that provides meals to community members who cannot leave their homes.
“Mobile Meals volunteers deliver daily meals to shut-ins, which can make the difference in enabling someone who is disabled and/or elderly to stay in their own home. The volunteers are given a list of clients’ addresses, but each volunteer has to determine the best route to get to those addresses in an efficient manner,” explained Wolden.
Combining math and technology, the students created a program to assist volunteers find the most efficient routes to the homes of clients. With the system, Mobile Meals can keep client addresses in a spreadsheet and import that data into a mapping program to calculate the most efficient routes.
Wolden’s class was able to support the Mobile Meals staff, volunteers, and clients with this project. The students worked together to apply the objectives of the class and solve a community problem.
“Through service learning, the students came to understand that the course wasn’t just theoretical; that they were studying techniques and methods they could use to solve real problems that they are apt to encounter,” Wolden concluded.
Recognizing the success of this service learning project, it was selected as the most successful service learning project of all seven Globe University schools in Wisconsin for the Winter and Spring quarters! This project was honored because of its positive impact on the community, its skillful application of the course objectives, and the strong impact it had on student learning.