Looking for an Engaging Service Learning Class?

You should definitely check out the Intro to SISE class (ID: SISE 2010). In the 2014-2015 school year, SISE and Grow Dat Youth Farm piloted a partnership to serve as the service-learning component for Josh Schoop’s class and to offer resources to help Grow Dat flourish and expand according to its mission.


“The thing I’ve been most surprised about with my time at Grow Dat is the maturity of the youth leaders… I often forgot that I’m older. Grow Dat youth have really stepped up to the role of leaders and do not seem to be intimidated by the fact they’re working with college students.” -SISE Student, winter 2014

I personally participated in the fall 2014 semester program; our work was to help Grow Dat train their new leadership team by learning from workshops run by Crew Leaders and Assistant Crew Leaders and to help with some farm work. The Grow Dat student leaders felt they benefited a lot from this setup because they were challenged to learn how to facilitate, to command respect from a group of people, and to work as a team. The Grow Dat team felt especially bonded from the experience. The training program aspect worked well both ways; it was especially meaningful to our class because we met many of the farm’s student employees and it exposed us to the inner workings of Grow Dat, showing us how it achieves its social mission. Our work at Grow Dat was so much more than a mandatory component of our class; it really bonded us together. Because of this experience, I connected to a lot of new friends and met people I probably never would have talked to had we only been in a classroom!

The spring semester required a shift in gears for the partnership. Grow Dat finished training its students back in January, so the current group focuses on farm work more than we did in fall. Their major projects this semester have included repainting large shipping containers and replacing invasive species with native ones. Johanna, the founder of the organization and a Tulane grad, guest lectures the SISE class throughout the semester to break down an overview of the organization and its communication strategy, which is different from other service learning classes because most often you don’t get to meet the founder. This setup allows students to learn firsthand about social entrepreneurship. As this semester wraps up, Grow Dat will collect student evaluations for this program, just as they did in the fall.

Both SISE and Grow Dat plan to deepen the program in the future. Most likely, they’ll continue with a similar foundation, which was so successful this year, but the program will evolve based on the evaluations of both the fall and spring sessions. The classes taught by Josh Schoop and Rebecca Otten will continue on this partnership next semester. After personally witnessing the pilot program as a meaningful, fulfilling service-learning option on multiple levels, I can confidently say you can’t go wrong choosing SISE as your service-learning component!