The Thayne Center for Service and Learning can connect a student with a service opportunity that meets the student’s passion and needs.
Whether the student-at-large, the service-learning student or the student involved in service leadership, the Thayne Center has the connections with the non-profit community and the programs to fulfill the requirements that the student needs to meet.
“If you care about a particular issue,” said Gail Jessen, director of the Thayne Center, “we can help serve as the connection.”
Students involved in service-learning classes learn the curriculum and meet the outcomes of classes through volunteer opportunities at local non-profits.
“More and more students from high school are expecting to find service-learning experiences,” said Jessen. Students tend “to get more out of the class than just a lecture.”
The America Reads Community Work-Study accounts for 26 percent of all work-study. The national average is seven percent. Students placed into the America Reads program work in Title I schools and get to use their work-study hours to make a difference in the lives of children.
The Thayne Center offers an Alternative Spring Break program that offers a “volunteer immersion experience,” said Jessen. In 2009, Michael Whitney went to Seattle with the program. The recycling and composting program that he saw there inspired him to establish the same kind of program at SLCC.
Tours are generally five days with four days working and one day available to experience the culture of the area. The cost of the tours is offset by student fees and includes airfare, ground transportation, food and lodging.
Student Leaders in Civic Engagement (SLICE) has about 15 participants who “address social issues throughout the year,” says Jessen. The selection process for the students is competitive and starts in the spring.
“This [SLICE] is a very engaged core group of students planning great things,” said Jessen.
The Thayne Center also offers one-time event coordination. These are usually sponsored events that include some sort of education component.
Even though volunteer opportunities are arranged to be convenient for the student, “it is important that students understand and have a context for what they are doing,” said Jessen.
For faculty wanting to make their classes into service-learning opportunities, the Thayne Center offers training and ensures good partnerships in the community.
“There is an on-campus resource that can serve as the connector between the college and the community,” said Jessen about the Thayne Center.
During the 2010-2011 school year, The Thayne Center’s programs had 8,215 volunteers who contributed 311,387 hours of service valued at about $6.7 million dollars according to the calculations of the Independent Sector.
The Thayne Center maintains a volunteer blog and posts between three and five opportunities a week. Information can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. It is located in the basement of the Student Center on the Taylorsville Redwood Campus in room 020. The office contact number is (801) 957-4555.