Community as Intellectual Space


Marisol Morales

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As a Puerto Rican student, I was rarely exposed to the intellectual capital that my community held. It wasn't until I entered college that I even learned about Latino studies programs. Exposed to Latino faculty and courses that spoke to me, I was able to begin to understand myself and my place in the world. But beyond that, what transformed my education was an intentional connection between academics and community.

How do service learning and community engagement enhance educational outcomes? Why should we support it? Well, because it is an opportunity to validate our students and where they come from. Community engagement through service learning gives us practical experience and professional connections, but more than anything it gives us community - something that we don't always find when we walk through the doors of the ivory tower and we sure don't find when we are the only one in the classroom, or at the department meeting.