Center for Academic Service - Learning

University of Wisconsin-Superior

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Belknap and Catlin
P.O. Box 2000
Superior, WI 54880

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Center for Academic Service - Learning

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Writing students hone skills while helping community

Posted on Dec 8, 2011
click to enlarge
Newsletters produced by students for their academic-service learning assignment.

Newsletters produced by students for their academic-service learning assignment.

By Elizabeth Reichert
University Relations student writer

"You learn about the theoretical a lot in class, but this is more real-life," said Drew Strandberg, a sophomore majoring in transportation and logistics management at UW-Superior.

Strandberg is enrolled in Business and Professional Writing taught by Beth Grbavcich, a senior lecturer in the Writing and Library Science Department. Students in the class have been working throughout the Fall 2011 semester to create newsletters for Superior's city councilors and the people living in their districts as part of an Academic Service-Learning project.

The newsletters are specific to each district, focusing on issues and news important to residents within a district. Students met with a city councilor, attended a city council meeting, and researched potential businesses and stories before drafting the newsletters.

"Trying to communicate and trying to find times to meet was challenging," said David Nelson, a junior majoring in business administration. "But it helped me to communicate better, to negotiate with people, and to know what to ask when interviewing."

Although some students found scheduling to be a challenge, Grbavcich instead saw it as a learning experience.

"The project helped to show that sometimes things work and sometimes they don't," she said. "Sometimes you have to be a little creative to get things done."

The project presented many opportunities for students to take what they had learned in class and apply it to a service for the community - the heart and goal of Academic Service-Learning.

"It's good, because students can get out into the community and learn more about it," said Melony Brantley, a senior majoring in Legal Studies. "Being involved in the community is always a good thing."

Strandberg agreed. "It's given it a real-world feel. I'm here to learn how to have a career, so it was a good experience," he said.

Students also learned new skills and developed old ones. "Contacting people got me out of my comfort zone. I feel more confident now," said Raquel Else, a senior majoring in elementary education. "I'm also more conscious about how I'm saying things."

Both students and Grbavcich said they enjoyed the project and hope to see it continue. Grbavcich plans to continuing partnering with the Academic Service-Learning Center and the city councilors for her business and professional writing classes.

News Contact: Al Miller | 715-394-8260 | amiller{atuws}
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