Hamline News

September 02, 2014

New Students Engage in Community

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Before beginning fall classes at Hamline, first-year students took a LEAP into St. Paul. Liberal Education As Practice, or LEAP, is part of the fall orientation program and engages students in a morning-long experience serving and learning at Twin Cities nonprofits. Formerly known as City Serve, the initiative was reimagined last year to better introduce students to high-impact learning experiences, proven practices such as community-based learning and internships. Before embarking on this new opportunity, students heard about the importance of being active community members from Hamline Provost Eric Jensen and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman during a short send-off ceremony.

“The intended outcome for LEAP into St. Paul is to provide meaningful opportunities to spark sustained community involvement throughout students' college careers,” Maggie Blackmon, coordinator of community service initiatives in Hamline’s Wesley Center for Spirituality, Service, and Social Justice, said. “We hope the intentional collaboration and connection between the university and community organizations result in future opportunities for students to engage with the community both in curricular and co-curricular programs.”

Among the more than 20 Twin Cities nonprofits which welcomed first-year students to their organizations for LEAP were: The Family Place, Friends of the Mississippi River, Neighborhood House, YouthFarm, National Youth Leadership Council, Mental Health Association of MN, St. Paul Parks & Recreation, and Community Action Partnership. Blackmon keeps close connections with Twin Cities nonprofits like these to ensure that Hamline students are informed about and have access to service and volunteering opportunities throughout the year.

Some first-year students will also explore the importance of service in the classroom during the First Year Seminar course titled "The City as a University -- Hamline Without Walls." This course explores what it means to be a citizen, a leader, and a community member. Throughout the semester, various speakers from the community and AmeriCorps VISTA members will discuss ideas of citizenship, leadership, and community. The course is co-taught by Blackmon and Hamline School of Business Honorary Professor of Practice Jim Scheibel.

Service is a core part of Hamline’s mission and providing opportunities for Hamline students throughout their time at the university is a vital element of the Hamline experience. You can learn more about high impact learning and programs through the Wesley Center on the Hamline website.