SERVICE LEARNER

A Voice for the Dorothy Day Program

By LaQuan D. McMahan

“We have all known the long loneliness, and we have found that the answer is love and that love comes from community” –Dorothy Day. Pacifist, activist, and soon-to-be Saint Dorothy Day has sought to correct the injustices of the world everyday through meaningful service and insightful philosophy. Marquette honors her unique message by stimulating the growth of young individuals that have interests in addressing social injustices in modern society.

The Dorothy Day Social Justice Living-Learning Community in Straz Hall features Marquette’s first coed floor with over twenty sophomores. Each student is required to complete approximately 30 hours of service each semester, which will help students engage and generate awareness towards social justice issues. All the while, students attend an upper level or intro-level Philosophy class together. Students in the program have a choice of special sites, each tackling different social issues.

McKenna Stillings, a sophomore in the Dorothy Day program majoring in Biomedical Engineering, did her service learning at Kagel Elementary, a youth program of Journey House, which offers “a nurturing and supportive environment to help empower studentsand the community with the necessary tools to meet the social and intellectual challenges of today,” according to Journey House’s mission statement.

McKenna’s role as a volunteer at the school is to play with and tutor children in Kindergarten through 5th grade. She sees this opportunity as an eye-opening experience. McKenna is especially enthusiastic about her time spent with the children because she knows she is making an impact in their lives they may not be getting at home. To her, Service Learning is valuable because it teaches college students to think outside the box when dealing with issues at their site. It also helps to expand students’ understanding of the world around them.

McKenna recommends the Dorothy Day program because the community values people who want to help make an impact in society. She believes for Spanish and Health Science classes this would be a great opportunity for students to expand their experiences and outlook on the world. "While it is a big commitment, the rewards are limitless," she said.

While McKenna has made significant connections between Philosophy 1001 and her Service Learning experience, she has high hopes that the higher level Philosophy class will yield great results. So far, McKenna enjoys her experiences because she is given the opportunity to work and make an impact with kids, which is a learning experience that cannot be weighed or scored.


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