Kirkwood President Mick Starcevich (left) joins the students to ring the bell
College 101 course provides enriching, practical experiences
For some Iowans, words like “giving back” and “paying it forward” sound like noble ideas, but they remain that: words and ideas.
For Kiara Campbell and her fellow students in a Kirkwood “College 101” class, those words have been discussed, researched and decided. On an early December night the class members will put the ideas into action, ringing bells and encouraging donations to the Salvation Army.
Students enrolled in the Kirkwood Community College student readiness and enrichment course are guided toward key concepts with concrete actions. The College 101 curriculum promotes strong study habits, wise fiscal decisions and healthy living, as well as civic and personal responsibility.
One of the myriad College 101 instructors this fall is Lauri Hughes, department coordinator for Kirkwood’s Nursing department. Hughes says the community service awareness portion of the classes is a favorite part of each semester.
“This assignment always gets our students engaged in the big ideas of charity and public service, but this group was particularly engaged,” she said. “The students brainstormed all kinds of ways they could get involved and the many organizations they could support. It was exciting to watch and listen as it unfolded.”
Following the in-class idea session, Hughes assigned each student to research the background, goals and community profile of an organization. The students then pitched their agencies and charities, gaining experience in presentation and persuasion skills.
“One day in class, after we had talked to the other students in our class about the organization we had researched, we discussed those groups as a class. After that talk, Lauri handed out pieces of paper and asked us to vote on which one we would like to help. It was a unanimous decision for the Salvation Army bell ringing and Angel Tags,” Campbell said.
“Those two strong choices really came to the top. Their feelings were so strong that they decided to help out both organizations,” Hughes recalled.
Students will all pitch in their donations for one or more gifts to contribute to the Angel Tree, providing children at Tanager Place a brighter holiday season. They also pledged as a class to take charge of a donation spot for the Salvation Army in early December. Campbell, a 2013 Prairie High School grad, says she is looking forward to the hours with kettle, bell and classmates.
“Some people may not think that bell ringing would be fun because we often see people bundled up in many layers and look very cold. But when I was learning about the volunteer work in class, it actually made me really excited and made me hope that that is how my peers felt as well,” Campbell added.
The student persuasion for their cause reached all the way to the Kirkwood President’s office. Mick Starcevich was impressed with the efforts enough to pledge his own bell-ringing time when the students ask for donations on that Tuesday evening.
“You bet I’m happy to take part!” Starcevich said. “The time and enthusiasm they put into this College 101 project is exactly what we hope to have at Kirkwood. We believe our students should complete their studies with us prepared not only for a career, but being involved and caring citizens, too. We have a clear goal of getting our students to be service-ready. Caring educators like Lauri transfer that spirit to the students, and look what good things can happen. These young people are going to be the involved neighbors in our Corridor for decades to come.”
Shoppers at the Wilson Avenue Hy-Vee will had their chance to add to a Kirkwood College 101 final class project when they saw the red kettle and heard the bells on December 3.