A travel course is "the ultimate experiential learning," according to Sociology
Professor Reber Dunkel.
Sociology Professor Reber Dunkel is the
coordinator of SERVE.
Randolph-Macon College students have the opportunity to travel, learn and help others—all
at the same time.
One of the educational advantages of the college’s January Term (J-term)
is the array of travel courses offered through the
Office of International Education. In January 2012, students enrolled in
Sociology Professor Beth Gill’s course, Human
Rights in the Global Village, will travel to El Salvador, where they will help build
“This service-learning course provides students the opportunity to make affordable
housing a possibility for those in need while introducing students to the sociology
of human rights,” says Gill, the Charles J. Potts Professor of Social Science. “We
will also examine the historical, social, environmental and cultural sources of
poverty and suffering, using a human rights framework.”
To read more SERVE stories, click here.
Students on the trip, which is sponsored by R-MC’s Habitat for Humanity (HFH) chapter,
will help build earthquake-resistant houses. The college’s HFH chapter will work
in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity El Salvador, which has since 1992 built
more than 5,000 houses, providing shelter for more than 25,000 Salvadorans. R-MC
students will work in all stages of construction, from digging foundations to painting
Christina Cozart, R-MC’s associate director of
residence life and housing, will also make the trip. Cozart has helped plan
and implement six spring-break trips during her tenure at R-MC.
“Each trip has been amazing,” says Cozart. “The service, the families we have impacted,
and the willingness of students to donate their time have truly made me proud to
be involved with Habitat for Humanity. I look forward to the challenge of building
homes in another country and also helping the Salvadoran people living in poverty
improve their quality of life.” R-MC has for years offered students unique, service-oriented
travel courses, including trips to Guatemala, Brazil and New Orleans.
R-MC Sociology Professor Reber Dunkel, coordinator
of SERVE (Students Engaged in Responsible
Volunteer Experiences), is thrilled that the college offers students opportunities
to give to others. “This is the ultimate experiential learning,” says Dunkel. “A
travel course with a service component engages a student in so many ways—head, heart,
and hands. In our globalized economy, the cooperative learning experience in a different
culture is invaluable.”
Students interested in J-term travel opportunities, including the El Salvador trip,
should speak with their advisors or contact the
Office of International Education.
In 2010-11, R-MC students collectively amassed almost 8,000 volunteer hours. Nearly
50 students spent an alternative Spring Break in Florida for a combined 950 hours
with Habitat for Humanity and 130 hours for a Haiti Relief project. Students in
R-MC’s Greek organizations contributed more than 4,500 hours of collective service
to the community, collected 550 pounds of canned food, donated 60 inches of hair
to Locks of Love, 21 toys to Toys for Tots and generous funds to various organizations.
In addition, money was raised on campus and donated to the Red Cross & Partners
in Health for the Haiti Earthquake Relief.The SERVE program, in the Office of Student
Life, is an integral part of Randolph-Macon’s Leadership Development and Service