APPLES hosted its first Service-Learning Initiative (SLI): Engage event March 31-April 2. This is a unique student-lead introduction to service-learning and allowed participants to learn more about APPLES opportunities and local organizations in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community. Traditionally, SLI takes place in the fall over three days before classes begin and allows incoming students to get to know each other and serve local community partners. This was the first offering of a spring SLI which was open to any UNC student and included local service as well as reflections on sustaining community engagement beyond college. Twenty-five students participated, including student leaders who previously served with SLI.
SLI: Engage participants served at local community partners including IFC Community House, Triangle Land Conservancy, North Carolina Botanical Garden, Wildwood Farms, the Caring and Sharing Center and Battle Park. Activities and reflections followed the program’s sustainability theme, including ethical food and environmental practices, as well as sustainable partnerships and maintaining strong community relationships, a primary value of the APPLES Service-Learning program. Students also heard from a panel of UNC young alumni who have pursued service careers. Panelists included:
- George Barrett ’13, associate director of the Marian Cheek Jackson Center
- Sarah Cohn ‘13 , advocate program coordinator for the Community Empowerment Fund
- Sarah Smith ’10, global civic engagement coordinator at the Campus Y
- Alexandra Zagbayou ’09, executive director at Student U
“We were excited that the program went so well for its first year and are looking forward to SLI: Launch in the fall and continuing to grow SLI: Engage in the future,” said student co-chair, Taylor Newsome, a junior biology and global studies major from Davidson, North Carolina.
Co-chair Abby Gostling, a sophomore economics and global studies major from Raleigh, North Carolina, said, “The participants were very engaged and we hope that they continue to serve the local community during the rest of their UNC careers.”