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What is Service Learning?

"Service learning is an experiential, collaborative pedagogical method incorporating projects that promote academic learning. These projects are directly linked to academic curriculum while meeting the service needs of the community and providing collaborative experience between students and nonprofit or government organizations. Typically, professors design service learning projects in partnership with representatives of community organizations, planning activities that will meet genuine needs in the community and advance student understanding of course curriculum. In the community setting, students complete service learning projects to advance the mission and programs of the community partner. On campus, students reflect on their experience, considering its relationship to their reading and research as well as its impact on their personal values and professional goals." -UNO Service Learning Academy


Service Learning Projects in OLLAS Classes

The Office of Latino/Latin American Studies is proud to include service learning components in several of its classes.

Recent projects include:

UNO Class Collaborates with Joslyn Art Museum on Indigenous Art Project

This service learning project, which is taking place during Spring 2012 in Dr. Claudia Garcia's Latin American Indigenous Contemporary Literature class, is fulfilled in collaboration with the Joslyn Art Museum, and its starting point is the Museum’s collection centered on the indigenous peoples of the Great Plains. The project consists of four components.

(1) Introduction: The class toured the Museum on Saturday, January 28. The tour was 100 minutes long, and took the places of the classes scheduled for Friday, January 27 and Monday, January 30. After the tour, students were required to write a reflection about the visit on the class Discussion Board.

(2) Translation: The students are translating the educational materials that the Museum loans to schools into Spanish. The students are divided into five groups, and a graduate student coordinates each group. Apart from translating their assigned segments, the graduate students supervise the translations of their group members. The undergraduate students must turn in their translations to the coordinator on April 9 (with a copy to the professor); the coordinators will turn in the final translation on April 23.

(3) After making contact with the indigenous-themed collections and the indigenous art of the Museum, as well as with the literary texts written by indigenous Latin American writers, the students will write acritical, reflective and personal paragraph, in which they connect a work from the Museum’s collection with a poem, story, or excerpt from a text read in class. It is necessary to include the text as a citation. Those paragraphs will be exhibited at the Museum and will be incorporated as a demonstration of the reactions that the art provokes. Furthermore, the graduate students will record their paragraphs so that they will also be accessible in audio format. Those paragraphs should be ready during the week of April 9-13, when the students will make the recordings.

(4) The students will reflect about what they learned and experienced throughout the Service Learning project and will write their conclusions on the class Discussion Board by April 25.

UNO and Ralston High Students Work with Intercultural Senior Center to Create a Book with a Focus on Omaha's Immigrants

In Fall Semester 2011 University of Nebraska at Omaha’s (UNO) Service Learning Academy brought together 45 UNO students from Introduction to Latino/Latin American Studies, taught by OLLAS Professor Maria Arbelaez and 20 Avenue Scholars students from Ralston Public High School for a service learning project in collaboration with the Intercultural Senior Center in South Omaha.

On October 20, UNO and Ralston High School students met with the seniors at the Intercultural Senior Center to engage in meaningful dialogues through interviews with the seniors. The Avenue Scholars were able to learn about the skills required to conduct interviews and write up narratives while focusing on the life experiences of the Latino immigrant population in South Omaha.

Avenue Scholars from Ralston High worked with Dr. Arbelaez's students to create a book entitled Face to the Faceless: Immigrants Who Built Omaha. The project aims at identifying the stereotypes people have in Omaha about the immigrants, learning about the life stories of immigrants, their struggles when emigrating, and their contribution to building the City of Omaha. READ PRESS RELEASE ►

UNO, South High Students and Latino Senior Center Share Results of Collaborative Project

The goal of one of the service learning projects in Dr. Gouveia's Spring 2011 Latino Migration and Integration class was capturing the oral histories of senior Latina immigrant women from South Omaha’s Intercultural Senior Center, and assisting the center with development efforts and materials. Students and seniors participated in collective discussions to design the project. Spanish-speaking students conducted and recorded interviews with seniors, which were then analyzed and summarized with the help of other students. Students developed a new brochure and bilingual informational flier distributed to community members and potential funders. The course concluded with a luncheon, on May 5, where students presented their findings and promotional materials in a PowerPoint presentation to the seniors as well as community members. The course spawned new funding and a new volunteer program for the center in which some of the students in the class continue to participate. READ PRESS RELEASE ►

Intercultural Senior Center brochure

. . . . .
Fact Sheet on Aging Latinos
Click above to view in English. . . . . . . Haz clic arriba para ver en español.

In the News: Cinco de Mayo connects generations, Article in Omaha World Herald (May 6, 2011)

UNO and South High Students Partner for April 30th Latino Migration Forum

The aim of this service learning project, which took place in Dr. Lourdes Gouveia's Latino Migration and Integration class in Spring 2011, was to conduct a community forum about state and local efforts to control immigration and the impact of such efforts on the integration of Latinos in Nebraska. Dr. Gouveia developed and disseminated educational materials associated with the forum. Dr. Gouveia's class partnered with the ACLU and the Leadership and Citizenship class at South High School under the Service Learning Academy P-16 Initiative. High school and UNO students and faculty participated in immigration hearings at the state capital, conducted interviews with state senators, community members and organization directors. High school students produced a documentary and UNO students produced a bilingual educational flier, which they distributed widely in the community, as well as a PowerPoint presentation based on their research and service learning experiences.  Both came together in a superb bilingual presentation to the community at the South High School library on April 30. The event was covered by the local press and attended by community members and professionals alike who added moving testimonies and congratulated the young students for their serious efforts and community engagement. READ PRESS RELEASE ►

LB48 and DREAM ACT brochure ►

In the News: Lágrimas de esperanza/Tears of Hope, Article in El Perico (May 5-11, 2011)


OLLAS Sends Students to Peru for International Service Learning and Study Abroad

Since 2008, UNO's Office of Latino/Latin American Studies has sent students to Peru three times in order to participate in international service learning and study abroad. The students worked on a childcare center/preschool in a shanty town in Lima, Peru. In collaboration with parents and techers, the students over the past four years have built a new module, a bathroom, and a security fence -- all of which were projects identified by the parents and teachers as the most important.

The trip also included site visits, meetings with officials and policy makers, and an internet mediated class focused on issues of urbanization in Latin America that students took prior to the trip. The most recent trip was during Summer 2011, and the next trip will take place in Summer 2013.