The Impact of Community-Engaged Learning

"As a senior, I have been reflecting on my four years in Ithaca and it has become evident to me that I have been most impacted by the community-engaged learning (CEL) course led by Professor Jane Juffer, Refugees and the Politics of Vulnerability: Intersections of Feminist Theory and Practice. Through the CEL class I took, I was able to work with the broader upstate New York community and see how academics can have direct implications in public service. In my opinion, involving academics in service allows for the intersection between theory and practice to take place. This intersection allowed my class to take an educational approach to understanding the socio-political conditions of asylum seekers in the United States, in turn, furthering our ability to assist them in their individualized needs. This class changed my educational trajectory as I learned about the concept of collective responsibility and how to divorce the idea of passivity with the concept of vulnerability. In simpler terms, I came to understand that all humans are vulnerable as we are all susceptible to loss, harm, sickness, and grief. However, certain groups and identities are more prone to harm as cultural norms render them erased and excluded from social, political, and cultural spaces. As we are all vulnerable, although some are more than others, I saw the importance of taking care of each other because we will all need some sort of help at some point in our lives."

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Art by Ingrid Franco