Follow-up post: Virtual service-learning and contingency planning

Zoom at home desk

This is a follow-up to my opinion post from 3.10.20 “Virtual service-learning and maintaining our commitment to community partners”

I met with my COMSTRAT 383 CCE Leads via Zoom this morning to discuss our contingency plans should classes move to online due to #COVID19 precautions. Service-learning in this class is very hands-on. Teams work on projects throughout each week and meet in-person with their CCE Leads every Wednesday to workshop active tasks. What will happen to these projects and important work for our community partners if we are suddenly mandated to progress from a distance?

After spring break we are slated to launch Lesson 4 with a service-learning focus on grassroots outreach. This includes creating materials for community health bags we will assemble and distribute on Greek Row. Each bag will have materials and literature related to our partners in public health, food insecurity, and mental health awareness. We also plan to have student representation at the All-Campus Food Drive and Palouse Family Fair, and hold a tabling event on the mall later in April. As of right now, we will stay the course and plan accordingly.

What is our contingency plan?

We brainstormed and decided we would take the opportunity to provide the students with a teachable moment related to #COVID19 and ask each team to research and create a series of socially-responsible materials that specifically impact areas of food insecurity, mental health, and public health as it relates to coronavirus. These materials would be a media mix such as infographics, fact sheets, press releases, blog posts, social media posts, and designed pieces. They would include information and references from reputable sources including the CDC and Washington Department of Health. These materials may never be publicly distributed, but if they are deemed useful by our various partners, they could get placed in a promotional circulation for PR and digital outreach. Regardless, students will learn new skills and experience what it is like to create real-time and relevant communications materials.

The good news is that the CCE Leads and students of COMSTRAT 383 are ready, prepared, and willing to pivot their focus. There is no question the work will continue.

“Adaptability to change is itself a hallmark of successful education.”

Peter Hilton, British mathematician

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