Day of Service Combines Academics and Aid
May 31, 2018
by Elise Goitia '18
Knox College's seventh annual Day of Service combined experiential learning and service, with an entire class visiting Hope Cemetery to learn about Galesburg's history, followed by a day restoring the historic cemetery.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Sociology Jonah Rubin led his class, Introduction to Anthropology (ANSO 102), to Hope Cemetery the day before the College's Day of Service. The students were given a tour of the cemetery by Knox alumnus and member of the Galesburg Historical Society Board of Directors Rex Cherrington '73.
"We were in our ethnographic work unit," said Veronica Langley '21. "It's studying cultural rituals, and a hub of Galesburg history is Hope Cemetery."
"It was a really cool experience, especially in an anthropology class, where it's all about going out into the world and learning experientially."
After learning about the cemetery, the class was encouraged to attend the Day of Service and clean up the cemetery. Students were given trash bags to collect leaves, twigs, and trash, going up and down the rows of headstones. Rubin worked alongside his students.
"While I was cleaning up, I did some exploring of the cemetery," said Langley. "Really, at the end of the day, it's a celebration of people. It was an effort to keep the memories pristine and from fading."
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The Mark & Jeannette Kleine Center for Community Service has a Day of Service each term and pursues innovative ideas to to encourage students to particpate in volunteer events throughout the school year. Starting with Explore & Engage in the fall, the center encourages students to volunteer at several places within the Galesburg community. In addition to Hope Cemetery, students had the opportunity to volunteer with the following local organizations this term:
- Discovery Depot Children's Museum
- Galesburg Civic Arts Center
- Mound Farm Community Garden
- Knox Farm
- Community Treasures
- Galesburg Youth Athletics
After her experience at Hope Cemetery, Langley plans to volunteer for future Days of Service.
"We were given an opportunity to take what we've learned in the classroom and apply it to something that has to do with the town itself," she commented. "I felt a lot more connected to Galesburg."
"I think it also really says a lot about how the College wants us to get our hands dirty and get involved with the surrounding town," Langley added. "This experience is definitely a testament to how Knox encourages students to be active. Now that my class required and encouraged it, I'm going to take that and do it more in the future."