Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Edmonds Community College Blogs About Sustainability


Students engaged in Edmonds Community College’s award-winning service-learning program contribute 30,000 hours of volunteer service to 57 community organizations each year. Now they are sharing their experiences and staying connected to the community on the college’s blog, AfterWords,

Student Yin Yu, who organizes events for the college’s Center for Service-Learning, is the featured blogger on AfterWords. She’s writing about service-learning projects and sustainability issues as she completes her Associate of Science degree. A Foundation scholarship recipient, Yu plans to go on to study environmental science at UW Bothell. Lisa Quirk, a student working on her Associate of Arts degree on her way to the University of Washington to study anthropology, will also be a regular contributor to the blog.

Both bloggers are active members of the college club S.A.V.E. (Students Association for a Viable Environment) and alumnae of the Learn-and-serve Environmental Anthropology Field (LEAF) school — a series of three human ecology classes with a service-learning emphasis. Service-learning gives students the opportunity to earn AmeriCorps scholarships, while they make deeper connections between their studies, their community, and the world at large.

Yu and Quirk met this summer while working on ecological projects on Whidbey, Orcas, and Jetty islands in the Puget Sound. Their work included restoration of historic Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) trails in Moran State Park on Orcas. Both students describe their summer in the LEAF school as a great, life-changing experience.

“I completed 300-hours of AmeriCorps service this summer, and everyday in class, I was introduced to a new environment, studied watersheds around the sound, and met new community partners,” said Yu. “I gained an understanding of the natural habitat in my neighborhood. I tell everyone I meet that they are missing out if they don’t enroll in the LEAF school.”

Blogging is a natural fit for the service-learning students as it provides a way that they can reflect on the impact of their service, a requirement for the AmeriCorps scholarships, as well as remain engaged with the community. Community organizations and members are encouraged help keep the students connected by reading and commenting on AfterWords.

LEAF school students also make use of college’s social network on Ning for group work and reflection. The most recent class posted photo blogs of their service for a final project. See photos of their summer of work as well as pictures from more recent projects at

AfterWords will also be a place where students and the community can discuss sustainability issues and share ideas. Since 2004, the college has initiated several sustainability projects on campus, including the development of classes and degrees that teach environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable practices.

In the past, AfterWords has helped shine a spotlight on arts and culture events at the college, including its lecture series. However, the previous AfterWords blogger, Jenna Nand, often wrote about her volunteer work with EcoEncore, a Seattle non-profit that recycles books and media. While at the college, Nand helped students collect more than $20,000 in re-sellable media for the non-profit. She is now working at EcoEncore while applying for law schoo


Sean Grove (CoThink) said...

This is, of course, a natural extension of their LEAF program, it seems. I can only hope that more students are encouraged to work towards creative applications of their studies in helping solve issues like this. Millions of students contributing and experimenting for the better - sounds pretty good to me :)

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Karen said...

So what do you think folks should do first regarding Living Sustainably?


Anonymous said...

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