June 14-19 Service-learning is year-round at BSC and the Bunting Center for Engaged Study and Community Action began its mission of expanding knowledge through service with the Student Leaders in Service program during the summer. A group of 25 rising high school seniors from six states participated in the week-long residential program and learned about leadership, service-learning and active citizenship through classroom activities, simulations and service projects. The students learned about communication and team-building by overcoming obstacles in a ropes course and spent time working with Birmingham-based non-profit groups. After learning about the population that the non-profit serves, and the challenges that it faces, students broke into teams and advocated for a $1,000 grant, which was awarded to the city's YWCA.
Aug. 21 As the academic year began, the Bunting Center staff, students, faculty and representatives from nine community partners, attended a Partnership Breakfast at BSC to discuss ways to improve the relationships between the college and the surrounding community.
Sept. 5 The Bunting Center invited first-year students to lend a hand to their neighbors by participating in Fall Outreach Day. More than 80 BSC students braved the stormy conditions and spent their first weekend away from home painting the walls of Northstar Youth Ministries, writing cards to residents of Oak Knoll Skilled Nursing Facility and making supply bags for teachers at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School.
The Birmingham News sent a coverage team to capture the BSC service-learning in action and an article appeared in the Sunday Sept. 6 edition of that newspaper about the event and the service-learning tradition at BSC.
Sept. 25 Birmingham-Southern College played host to Alabama Possible's "Lifetime of Learning" conference. More than 100 representatives of higher education institutes attended the day-long summit about service-learning, civic engagement and higher education. Bunting Center Director Kristin Harper and Assistant Director Sara Doughton presented a session about international service-learning and rethinking relationships abroad.
Oct. 10 Student-initiative is paramount to a successful service-learning experience, and the Bunting Center is filled with students who find innovative ways to serve and learn. Here BSC students John McGinnis, far right, and Allison Bovell (Student Liaison for Urban Kids) spend time with youth from Urban Kids, a Bunting Center Community Partner. Partnerships make it easier for service-learners to work within their community, and here made it easier for a group of students majoring in Theater to share their passion with low-income students who were interested in the arts.
Nov. 14 The Bunting Center's students, staff, alumni, faculty and fans worked to make this year's Dream Café a huge success. Contributors danced, sang, acted and entertained participants who helped to raise $1,200 toward the 2010 Interim trip to Washington D.C.
Dec. 16 Students, working through the Bunting Center worked diligently with its Community Partners to help local families have a warm, safe and happy holiday season.
Students and the Bunting Center provided 50 new pairs of socks for residents at nearby Oak Knoll Skilled Nursing Facility. Student organizations like Psi Chi, a psychology club, and the Student Athlete Advisory Committee coordinated efforts through the Bunting Center and BSC community partner Urban Ministry to ensure that 12 neighborhood children would have presents on Christmas morning.
Phebe Booker with Urban Ministry said that the need for donations is especially great this year. The sour economy and high jobless rate means more families are looking for assistance.
"If it were not for (BSC) sponsors, these children would have had to do without things that they wanted and some even needed this holiday season," she said.
Students also donated unused meal card money in the sum of $1,400 that will go directly to stocking the First Light Women's Shelter and Urban Ministry food pantry, both Bunting Center Community Partners.
January 2010 For this year's interim, the Bunting Center offered an intimate look into the (Washington) D.C. Central Kitchen to facilitate learning about issues of fair food production and distribution and issues of urban homelessness. BSC student and service-learning blogger Katie Talley wrote about the work:
"We had a great orientation where we learned about the organization's mission. DCCK provides meals to several agencies dealing with the homeless in the D.C. area. They also have a catering business. Along with their efforts to provide food, they also provide 'empowerment' programs; one being the Culinary Job Training where people learn skills that will enable them to enter the food industry. We spent our time preparing food, cooking black eyed peas, peeling and slicing potatoes, dicing peppers and coring apples, among other tasks."
Feb. 20-21 Student Liaisons reflected about the previous year's Community Partnerships, shared ideas about volunteer recruitment and retention and assisted an innovative Birmingham-based non-profit group during its spring retreat.
The retreat is a way for Student Liaisons, BSC students who help to coordinate service-learning through individual Community Partners, to bond and encourage each other. For this year's retreat the group traveled to the Woodlawn community to work with the Desert Island Supply Company (DISCo.), a new non-profit group that encourages creative writing by tutoring and sponsoring essay contests and poetry slams.
After getting their hands dirty preparing recycled wine bottles into retail art and working to clean the local neighborhood, the group listened and shared about the previous year's challenges and goals for the upcoming semester.
March 3-5 Bunting Center staff presented at the 2010 GulfSouth Summit on Service Learning and Civic Engagement Through Higher Education in Athens, Ga. Presentations included a visual arrangement about the impact of AmeriCoprs VISTAs on a college service-learning and a workshop explaining the benefits of BSC's service-learning interim model.
March 13-20 Bunting Center staff and students served meals with Glide United Methodist Church in San Francisco as part of the Alternative Spring Break and learned about the causes and effects of homelessness. They also learned about operations at the San Francisco Food Bank.