UCM is a non-traditional campus ministry that uses service learning to reach out to college students on the campuses of higher education in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
...but what is "Service Learning"?
We identify Service Learning as:
Getting out of your comfort zone
In service learning, you move out of your comfort zone to work with people and in situations that are new and may be uncomfortable for you. By doing this, you see the world through different eyes and other people's experiences.
In service learning, you discover that you are receiving as much as you give.
In service learning, you spend time thinking about the experience and the issues with critical reflection.
A Critical Reflection Towards A Transformed Understanding
Critical reflection makes the difference between service work and service learning. Participating in critical reflections help to:
Move past the emotional aspects of the experience
Apply what is learned to social problems
Develop a transformed understanding of problems and issues surrounding us
All of the service learning programs for UCM have reflection built in allowing you to spend time thinking about what we are doing and why. We also consider public policy and the private experience of those we work with. Reflection can happen in classroom conversations or presentations. It can happen in papers, personal journals, and/or group projects. However, one of the most effective tools for reflection is the Critical Incident Report (CIR). In this, you first reflect on what happened (What?), then what you thought or felt about it (So What?), and finally how it changes your understanding of the world (Now What?). In the end, education is about transformed understanding. The Critical Incident Report provides an ideal tool for demonstrating this transformation.