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Reflection

“I will admit, I was very skeptical about this class at first. Service learning seemed like one more stupid requirement, something that stood in the way of me taking more interesting and ‘useful’ courses. I wanted to do my project and get out of there. I didn’t think that service learning had anything to teach me.

I was wrong. I have learned a lot through this class and my community project. It has forced me to get to know Pittsburgh in a way I never have before. I never really saw myself as a resident here, merely a student passing through. I felt no ties to community. The Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) project changed all that. I got to know the people of the South Side and Allentown. We handout out brochures and personally explained the program to the residents. Then, we camped out in people’s back yards, trapping the cats. The neighborhood in Allentown that I was in was particularly touching. Most of the residents were pretty poor. Many abandoned and condemned houses lined the streets. These people did not have easy lives. Yet, they cared deeply for the feral cats in the area. They fed and sheltered them, even though they didn’t have the money to spare. This is a neighborhood that knows what community is like. I realized that by staying distant, by labeling myself as a visitor, I was missing out on all that. I am missing out on potential friendships and chances to learn from those whose lives are drastically different than my own. To have such opportunities, I need to get involved in a community beyond Duquesne’s campus. While I am here over the summer, I plan to join my church’s homeless ministry, which sets up meals for those in need several times a week in South Side. I don’t know if I will have the time to carry on into the fall semester, but it is a start. It is one step forward to community.”

— Denise Herr, Forensics

“Perhaps the most important characteristic a leader must have is the striving need to be a life-long learner. Not only are we sent to grade school, high school, attend college and beyond to learn; one of school’s purposes is to teach and instill a drive to learn from life. Methods and techniques in the field are constantly evolving and improving for tasks at hand; if you stop learning you are basically frozen, falling behind, and neglecting to admit your ‘old’ knowledge is outdated and has been improved upon. Reaching into life-long learning is civic and global engagement is a bunch of life-long learning involvement. For example, participating in the Amizade Water Walk last Saturday, has helped move my awareness to a new level regarding global water crises and issues. Not only was my awareness raised by those who have been part of the organization for many years, but I was feeling as I was a true part of the community and as our efforts were truly affecting lives of those less fortunate.”

— Philip Fagan, B.S. Biology

“This reflection is on our poster session. I thought the poster session was a great idea. It let all the students take a look at what all their fellow classmates did over the semester. Also it was very refreshing to see how enthusiastic everyone was about their project. Everyone took a lot of pride in their work and that was great to see. I thoroughly enjoyed this class.”

— Stephen Hudak, B.S. Biology May 2011