Center for Citizenship and Community

How will I understand and value service and volunteering differently through the ICR?

Understanding citizenship
"I now realize that volunteerism by the book—simply doing service as a means to an end—will accomplish little, whereas active service with engaged interaction and commitment to others will achieve great results." ~ show more

Stephen Cornelius '14, political science

Fulfilled Indianapolis Community Requirement by: Serving and learning at the Indianapolis School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

For course: Political Science Research Methods

Favorite activity: Reflecting on experience

An "Aha!" moment: "Reflecting upon community, service, and citizenship"

Before college, I had no real idea what belonging to a community or being an "engaged" citizen really meant. I thought I was engaged. I mean, I recycled. I logged hundreds of volunteer hours at soup kitchens and food pantries. I did my so-called civic duty.

Upon enrolling at Butler, though, I stumbled upon service-learning through the Indianapolis Community Requirement (ICR).  As part of a political science course, I served at the Indiana School for the Blind and the Visually Impaired (ISBVI).  During my time at the school, I found myself making friends, sharing stories, and most importantly, connecting with others. Those connections made all the difference.

I now realize that all of my previous volunteering, though noble, did not seek out and address the root cause of hunger or other deep, systemic problems present in our community. Hunger will not be defeated by a boy passing out a can of soup to a few hundred people.

Before college, I had been apathetic and detached in my approach. I had viewed myself as living a life separate from everyone else, accepting differences in circumstances as grounds to alienate people from myself. I hadn't built relationships. I had drifted through without compassion or concern, and what few connections I did make were superficial. I now realize that volunteerism by the book-simply doing service as a means to an end-will accomplish little, whereas active service with engaged interaction and commitment to others will achieve great results.  This is the kind of community and citizenship the world needs today.

The deeper meaning of service
"At Butler, I enrolled in a service-learning course and discovered a whole new meaning of service." ~ show more

Rachel O'Heran '15, international studies

Fulfilled Indianapolis Community Requirement by: Mentoring and being mentored by refugees in a Washington Township Public School

For course: Introduction to International Politics

Favorite activity: Serving others

An "Aha!" moment: Understanding the difference between volunteering and serving

I had been an active volunteer in my own community long before I came to Butler.  However, I knew little about community service beyond city cleanup or building restoration. At Butler, I enrolled in a service-learning course and discovered a whole new meaning of service.

I was placed at Westlane Middle School to tutor immigrant and refugee children in English. I was excited to interact with the same children every time I visited the school. After a couple of weeks, I realized that this was much more than volunteering in the sense of just going through the motions without thought or consideration. True service as promoted through the Indianapolis Community Requirement inspires one to go above and beyond the task at hand.  Service involves passion, involvement, and investment in the individuals being served.  At Westlane, the children became some of my best friends. They would eagerly tell me all about their lives and what I had missed while I had been gone.  I would not have shared their friendship if I had just been another volunteer, and this goes to show just how great an impact service can exert on the world, both on the serving and on the served.

Learning from those I serve
"I can now see why so many students see their ICR experience at the KYC not as a requirement but as an opportunity." ~ show more

Freshman at Butler

Fulfilled Indianapolis Community Requirement by: Serving and learning at the Kaleidoscope Youth Center (KYC)

For course: Health Disparities

Favorite activity: Learning from the kids at the KYC

An "Aha!" moment: Being blown away by how much these kids taught her

Butler students from many different disciplines choose to complete their service-learning hours at the Kaleidoscope Youth Center (KYC) for a number of reasons.  Some go specifically for the children, to develop new connections in the community.  Others go to achieve a deeper understanding of their own education.  As a service-learning student myself, I was originally skeptical that the children at KYC could teach me anything.  After all, I was there to teach them.  By the end of the semester, though, I was blown away by how much I had learned from these kids.  They had opened my eyes to a whole new community right around the corner, and they had enriched my education on health disparities in ways I had never imagined. I can now see why so many students see their ICR experience at the KYC not as a requirement but as an opportunity. These are my favorite two hours of my week.

 

Making a difference
"To see such motivation like this among the children is what truly makes me believe in the work the Center of Citizenship and Community (CCC) is able to do through outreach programs like the Indianapolis Community Requirement (ICR)" ~ show more

Rachel O'Heran '15, international studies 

Fulfilled Indianapolis Community Requirement by: Mentoring and being mentored by refugees in a Washington Township Public School 

For course: Introduction to International Politics 

Favorite activity: Serving others

An "Aha!" moment: Lasting impressions

When I became an Advocate for Community Engagement (ACE), I returned to Westlane Middle School, the site where I had completed my own service-learning requirement.  When I arrived, children whom I hardly knew came up and gave me a hug. Then, the group of boys with whom I had worked extensively during my service learning-the "tough guys" of the school-filed in and gave me a hug. All of these boys are extremely smart and have large amounts of potential, but they do not receive much encouragement from home to do well in school. When I asked them how last semester went, most of them were afraid to tell me how their grades had turned out. Therefore, just like before, we sat down together and set goals for each student to achieve. Two of the boys started that afternoon by opting to stay in with me from recess to work on homework. To see such motivation like this among the children is what truly makes me believe in the work the Center of Citizenship and Community (CCC) is able to do through outreach programs like the Indianapolis Community Requirement (ICR), and I hope that Butler students will find as much value in the experience as I have and continue to do.