Students in Dr. Austin McDonald’s, assistant professor of communication studies, small group communication class held informational booths this week in the Hazelrigg Student Union concourse inviting students to sign up for possible volunteer opportunities in the Hastings community. Students in the class, split into groups, volunteered at these community organizations as part of their communications class and are aiding in the process for other students to volunteer as well.
These groups are similar to an approach taken during the last block in which McDonald had students work in groups for a persuasion course.
“It’s a way to kind of implement what we’re learning in class with a community partner…we can actually apply the skills and techniques that we learn for working in a small group while also being beneficial to the community in some way,” said Sophomore Keaton Ludwig.
Ludwig was in a group along with Senior Basil Rabayda, Juniors Riley DeMent and Emma Redinger and First-Year Leyna Hightshoe; all volunteering at the Hastings Literacy Program. The program serves to educate adults who never received a high school diploma or GED, as well as people who don’t have English as their first language.
“We assist the volunteers in teaching math, reading and English as a second language. We’ve had a great time doing that and because of it we really wanna help out and try to give back and try to get as many recruitment and volunteers that we can get to go there,” Rabayda said.
The communications class had four groups total with students also volunteering for “Meals on Wheels,” Mentoring Works and the YWCA. Groups set up information sessions for students to attend if they wanted to get involved, along with the volunteer work for the class, all of which was an aid in their course work within the class.
“Another element that I really appreciate about this is that we’re able to put the classroom principles that we learn into practice through communicating with our small group, so it serves as a good educational opportunity not only for us to volunteer with the literacy program but also to learn from each other,” Redinger said.