Generate Community Involvement
This page was developed as a synthesis of lessons learned by participants in InTeGrate program models and is part of an extended set of InTeGrate resources on increasing the diversity of students learning about the Earth.
Employ Service Learning
Service Learning empowers students to effect positive change and serve as citizen leaders in a global community through civic engagement, integrated learning, and reflective practices. Service Learning and other forms of active, experiential learning support many of the outcomes InTeGrate seeks to promote.
The Savannah program team, in conjunction with students, developed a series of service learning project options that can be engaged through classes, clubs, and other events/activities. Additionally, by maintaining a journal of the projects completed and who was involved, future activities can shaped using lessons learned and as projects are completed, the running roster of participants will be easier to acknowledge.
Utilize Field Trips
Enhance outreach efforts to local high schools and community colleges through presentations and field activity experiences to recruit additional students. Field experiences are a tried and true way of getting students excited about geoscience topics. They are a great way for students to interact with faculty and local community experts around issues that affect them. Virtual field trips can expand the usefulness of field experiences beyond those able to take part at a particular time and place.
One of the UNC team's primary goals was to enhance outreach to high school students using field trips. In the first year of their efforts they saw a substantial increase in the number and diversity of entering freshman to the geoscience program.
Student fieldtrips on various themes: Food deserts and using community gardens to improve food security in underserved areas; Waterway clean-ups to discuss storm water issues and; GIS Day in partnership with USGS or other entities to map areas of concern (food deserts, proximity to harmful industrial exposure, underserved communities, etc.).
Involve Local Industry and Government
The UIC team featured interviews with diverse alumni (gender, ethnicity/nationality, discipline, etc) still residing in the area as a way of connecting students with people who look like them that are engaged in local industries.
Mercer team linked our workshop to a state-wide industry-led initiative and offered it to Mercer alumni and students. The link to the state-wide initiative helped us gain interest from potential participants. The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) annually promotes "Georgia STEM Day" in late Spring.
As a consequence of planning to support community project development across the curriculum, the team expanded activities with partners in existing courses yielding other opportunities that students gained including internships, professional networking, and land or instrumentation resources. Now they are specifically working to identify ways to maximize gains for students and partners.