Students in the Community

I had some thoughts after class today on the subject of student involvement in the community. It has to do with that divide between doing something for the academic exercise of it versus for the intent of actually getting something done. As someone who has worked in community organizations at times, such as The Center for Appropriate Transport (CAT) here in Eugene, I have been on the other end of receiving student interest. I may be a worry wort or a pessimist or something, but I think there is often a great risk of students taking more than they give when trying to work with community, mostly because of the short time frame. A part of me cringes at the idea of busy farmers being bombarded for information by students with the only results of their time being a class room poster. I know that somewhere in there many of the people who take the time to share do so because they are interested in the educational aspect of what they do and thus are probably fine with this relationship. Nevertheless, for experimental, community classes such as this I feel sensitive about the need to find some kind of balance between what is given and what is taken between students and active community members. I think ideally our classes would be longer, or we would take the same class for two or more quarters so that actual follow through could be accomplished. I am sure it would be a more satisfying and a greater learning experience for the students as well. Who had the brilliant idea of stuffing a class into the quarter system anyways?  I am glad this class exists in whatever form it does, but maybe these thoughts can inform future classes.

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