Fall 2005 was a successful semester for Academic Service Learning opportunities


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Fall 2005 has been a successful semester for Academic Service Learning opportunities. Instructors of nine courses on campus offered organized service learning activities in their curriculum with more than 80 students participating. These students were involved in a variety of projects.

Kathy Huschle’s Environmental Science, Diane Drake’s Composition II, and Faith Rud’s Sociology and Political Science classes collaborated on a project where students researched and proposed additional recycling in the city of Thief River Falls. Through their research, students discovered that most towns the size of Thief River see a decrease of 20 percent in their garbage after separating recyclables from other garbage. Using that figure, the city would save $39,204.46 if more recycling options were available to its customers. Students prepared a PowerPoint that Ms. Huschle used to present this information to the City Council at a November meeting. In addition, students have been writing Letters to the Editor of the TRF Times supporting recycling in the city.

Other Academic Service Learning projects have included assisting in the organization of a home for two adults in the city who are blind and doing projects to make their home more suitable to their handicap. Another student has been working with Challenger Elementary School students helping them learn their math facts.

Intro to Music students, under the direction of Vanessa Martell, collaborated with Franklin Middle School students to learn music history. Students prepared a PowerPoint presentation which was shown during the middle school’s fall concert and to perform with Franklin students at that concert.

Marketing students, with Kristina Keller as their instructor, are working with KSRQ radio to create a marketing plan for the station.

LPN students hosted a Health Fair on campus in October with the assistance of their instructors, DeLoris Larson and Betty Carlson. The Fair included a number of booths with information about smoking cessation, blood pressure, blood sugar, the effects of meth, use of car seats and seat belts, in addition to other topics. It was well attended by the Northland community. About the experience, one student commented, “It was a really great experience to use some of the information I had learned.”

Office Procedures students have been helping residents at the Valley Home assisted-living facility in Thief River Falls write Christmas letters and address envelopes. One student spent her time at Valley Home visiting and entertaining residents.

Desktop Publishing and Presentation Graphics students have been creating brochures, newsletters, menus, and other promotional materials for local organizations such as the Pennington County Extension Service, Red Hat Society, KSRQ, the Eagles Club, and a student’s local church, as well as for the LPN students’ Health Fair held on campus in October. Marcia Sandahl is the Office Procedures and Desktop Publishing instructor.

Many more students were involved in community volunteer activities including reading to Challenger Elementary School students, bell ringing for the Salvation Army, and demonstrating self-defense techniques to Girl Scout troops.

Faculty are encouraged to offer their students service learning in upcoming semesters. Students value the opportunity to be engaged in their communities. They are recognized through a notation of participation on their transcripts and through end-of-project celebrations. It also looks great on their résumé. If you have questions about incorporating Academic Service Learning into your curriculum, please see Marcia Sandahl on the TRF campus or Linda Simmons in EGF.


Northland Community and Technical College (Northland College .edu) is a comprehensive college with campuses in Thief River Falls, MN and East Grand Forks, MN. Northland also has a separate aerospace campus in Thief River Falls, MN and a satellite site in Roseau, MN. Northland offers certificates, diplomas, transfer courses, two-year AAS degrees in more than 60 areas of study, workforce training and education programs. Northland is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. Visit Northland online at www.northlandcollege.edu. Northland is an equal opportunity educator and employer.