Faculty and Community Partners Build Relationships

May 2, 2022
Fellows, faculty, and more come together to build new relationships and strengthen old ones

Fellows, faculty, and more come together to build new relationships and strengthen old ones

Faculty and some La Fiesta staff members talk about their current service-learning projects

Faculty and some La Fiesta staff members talk about their current service-learning projects

Fellows, faculty, and more come together to build new relationships and strengthen old ones
Faculty and some La Fiesta staff members talk about their current service-learning projects
Author
Addison Smith

“I want to teach the kids about different jobs but I want to do more for them. I want to translate the jobs in such a way that the kids will understand and have some sort of sense on what they would maybe want to do after they get into the ‘real world’ and what that would mean for them, I want to make a difference for them!,” said Megan Hassur when discussing service-learning and projects that would help enrich her students' lives. 

On April 19, the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) set up an outdoor meet-and-greet for community partners and faculty at SSU. The event was in-person and put on by Dr. Melissa (Missy) Gavin and the Faculty Fellows of the CCE. The event was informational and a nice way for student-teachers, teachers, and professors to interact and enjoy the sun, especially after; the past few years of virtual events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The faculty have partnered before, but this event allowed for these relationships to prosper while also introducing new partnerships with the University Library and Common Read on campus. 

When I arrived at the event I was greeted by different professors, teachers, and student-teachers, some student-teachers were even Sonoma State students who I knew! It made the environment more comfortable for me because I felt, as a student blogger, I couldn't add too much to the conversations, but I felt much better and more talkative after seeing some people I knew at the event. 

The event started with an introduction from Dr. Gavin and short talks with the Principal of La Fiesta, Christina Lunde, Kaitlin Springmier, a librarian at Sonoma State, and Suzanne Toczyski, a faculty member at SSU, who took the time to discuss the Common Read. The idea came about after Toczyski read So You Want to Talk about Race and she was inspired by the book to try a campus-wide shared rad to facilitate more “...learning experiences, as well as to get students to face the uncomfortable truths that this book, and others like it, bring up.” That idea really resonated with me because for one, I love reading and being able to read in the name of service-learning would be an interesting new idea. What I also really find fascinating is that the topic of the book would be tackled by multiple professors and students which would provide an enriching discussion in my opinion.

After the brief intro for each individual and allowing everyone time to mingle, the attendees were introduced to a game that involved green arrows and stop signs that were at each seat of the table. The goal of the game was about giving the opportunity for Sonoma faculty to meet different members of La Fiesta and allow them the opportunity to pitch ideas, mingle, and do general introductions to the Sonoma State family. I got paired up with multiple different people such as Megan Hassur, who teaches first grade at the elementary school. Her service-learning project was about teaching her first-grade class about different jobs, but going more in-depth then maybe some other teachers would. She described it to me in a way that engaged me almost instantly. Her conversation with me was interesting, and honestly made me want to be a teacher. The idea of using service-based projects and learning to have a meaningful impact on the next generation of our world will always make me think about teaching and the wonderful rewards that come with it. After the game was over, which ended after about three to four switches between the faculty, everyone was allowed to stand and walk and talk with different attendees that they may have not gotten a chance to meet with. Overall, the event allowed for some outdoor fun with different faculty and teachers being able to interact with one another in-person which made the event that much more real in the minds of a lot of participants. Missy Garvin along with the Faculty Fellows spent a long time planning this event and were duly rewarded by the amount of people who attended and connected at the event.