1. Street Team members Rosa Martinez and I, Madhumita Rao, have both been involved in the service-learning world at Northeastern University for a while; in fact, we have both been S-L students and S-LTAs in the past and are currently on the S-L Street Team. In this post, Rosa answers the same questions that I answered in part 1!
  2. How did you first get introduced to the world of S-L?

I first got introduced to S-L during my first-year college writing English class. We mainly had discussions about what home meant to us and to a community. We explored this more by partnering up with Little Brothers Friends of The Eldely, a nonprofit organization that focuses on eliminating isolation among the  elderly population  through social activities, support, and care. I enjoyed going to the elderly homes with my classmates and having life conversations while we played cards.. During my time there, I interviewed one of the elders who I grew to have a connection with as part of my final project. We spoke about what home meant, their life experiences growing up, musical interests and more! 

  1. What made you decide you wanted to get more involved in S-L after that first experience?

After being an S-L student, I simply just enjoyed volunteering at community sites, because it allowed me to learn about the community and its social issues that were not  just lecture based. I have always been someone who learned best through hands-on work and service-learning gave me that opportunity to grow as a student while being an active community member. 

I then became a S-LTA where I got to use the tools I learned as a volunteer and share it with other S-L students. 

After my time being a S-LTA, I wanted to continue to be a part of the S-L community but in a different role and the StreetTeam was a great way to stay connected while having a flexible schedule to work on other projects.

  1. What was something new that you learned in each of those roles?

While I was an S-L student, I learned how to use my life experiences to serve the community. During my second year I worked for SquashBusters, an organization that provided Urban Youth with resources for college success with a focus on health and fitness. When I was helping these groups of high schoolers, I related to a lot of them, because I also came from a first-generation family with no college background and it made serving this particular community meaningful for me and inspired me to do future school projects about the educational system in Boston.

As a S-LTA, I learned how to facilitate group discussion in the classroom about students’ experience with their service-learning site and course objectives. It was a great leadership opportunity, because I got to work with the Professor to implement lectures on community service and be a resource for students. 

As an S-L Street Team member, I learned about the behind-the-scenes work of the service-learning program. I’ve also been able  to connect S-L to a larger platform. We have a website called the S-LOG where we post community events and student reflections. It took me out of my comfort zone to reach out to S-L students and interview them about their experience with service-learning. I also learned social media skills like posting blogs and doing instagram take-overs for the Street Team. 

  1. How has your view of S-L changed since you were first introduced to it?

There is so much that goes on in service-learning beyond just volunteering. S-L has an incredible team of staff, students, and partnerships that contribute to different aspects of service-learning that keep the program running. In each of my experiences as an S-L student, S-LTA, and a Street Team member, I have learned different skills and have gotten to work with different types of people from community members all the way to Program Directors.

  1. Out of the roles of S-LTA, S-L student, and S-L Street Team member, which was your favorite?

Each role has taught me something different, but if I had to choose, it would be S-LTA. I have an interest in education, and being an S-LTA gave me the skills of working with college students in a classroom setting and connecting with my professor who has been a great resource to ask for advice on getting students engaged in the classroom while staying on top of the course materials. 

  1. Any final thoughts?

Being a part of the S-L program in any of these roles has been a great networking opportunity. A lot of the time, when I am getting interviewed, I get asked about my time at S-L regardless of  what field I apply for. I am very grateful to have been part of such an amazing program like S-L and I hope to see more people join the program in the future! It truly has been a pleasure working with and for the community.

Adapted from S-LOG post published on April 13, 2021.