Radiologic Technology (Rad Tech) has become the latest program at Trocaire to prioritize service learning as a required piece of its curriculum.
Coordinator of Service Learning Pam Jablonicky defines service learning as a teaching and learning approach that “goes beyond traditional community service, integrating instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, promote growth in character and in critical thinking skills, teach civic responsibility and strengthen communities.”
Ann Smith, Rad Tech’s clinical coordinator, said Program Director Nancy Augustyn has a strong belief in service learning’s value, and a presentation on how fulfilling the experience can be for students by Sister Margy Gorman, the former coordinator of service learning, helped provide the catalyst for creating a formal service element.
The program debuted its service learning component this past summer—all students going into their second year in Rad Tech completed a full day of service in June. The work included completing some light maintenance and administrative tasks for the Tosh Collins Community Center in South Buffalo, and then delivering food for Meals on Wheels for WNY under the guidance of faculty members. They were also responsible for writing a reflection paper.
“It was a perfect fit to assist the neighborhood,” Smith said. “Service learning is invaluable for any individual who experiences and becomes involved in assisting needy people. Overall, it was definitely a wonderful and grateful day we all had.”
“What was nice about that is they actually had an opportunity to talk to some of the recipients of the meals,” Jablonicky said. “You get to see a little bit different viewpoint of people’s needs and how they live. It was a good experience for them.”
Service learning is a way for Trocaire students to honor the college’s foundation by the Sisters of Mercy and their legacy of serving people and communities “who are poor, sick and uneducated.”
“What we try to do is foster empathy,” Jablonicky said. “When you see how another person lives, their needs, I think you become a more compassionate, caring, empathetic person.”