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s-spa-service-learningSpanish faculty are committed to service learning.  The bulk of the programs’ 300-level courses on conversation, as well as some courses on composition, have a service-learning component for students to practice their language skills and glean cultural literacy through interaction with the Spanish-speaking populations of Buffalo. These populations include both long-term residents as well as migrant and refugee populations.  Groups that students serve include the Los Tainos retirement center, the Boys and Girls Club for after school programs, bilingual schools and Journey’s End/Vive la Casa.

In addition, students participate in service-learning field trips to Los Angeles working in a homeless, migrant worker shelter as part of a trip to LA gangland.  Spanish faculty also work with Campus Ministry to lead or translate for service-immersion trips. Most recently, Richard Reitsma, PhD, chair of the modern languages, literatures and cultures program, accompanied Josh Russell, PhD, assistant professor in Animal Behavior, Ecology and Conservation, and students on the Campus Ministry trip to El Salvador.  Margaret Stefanski, PhD, associate professor of modern languages, also accompanied students to El Salvador as well as India, with Campus Ministry.

Submitted by: Sara Morris, PhD, associate vice president, academic affairs