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Learning that transcends classroom walls

Civil action leader discovers Fair Trade Business in Peru

Going to Cusco, Peru, for 13 weeks during the summer may seem like a relaxing vacation, but for BGSU junior Scott Brummel, it was about working, learning, and volunteering. This experience happened with the help of Ubelong International non-gorvernmental organization that connects volunteers with service-learning opportunities abroad.

Brummel volunteered as a social entrepreneur working with indigenous weavers on the outskirts of the city to help them establish themselves as a Fair-Trade Business. The Fair-Trade Business designation ensures protection not only for the cultural heritage of authentic Andean weaving but also the livelihood of the weavers.

Brummel was able to immerse himself in the Peruvian culture and learn from the people of the country.

When Brummel returned home, he was given the opportunity to visit the headquarters of the international aid group Oxfam International for a weeklong training with other students from across the country.

While on campus, he puts his experiences to use by working as a Civic Action Leader in the Office of Service-Learning. Civil Action Leaders are a group of students passionate about community service and civic engagement. CALs work in the Office of Service-Learning as administrative interns with such tasks as: recruiting volunteers, providing leadership for the Service Resource Connection, assisting with the coordination of large service events such as the MLK Jr. Day of Service Challenge, publishing the Service Update, volunteer management for the BG Teen Central, and facilitating the Service Roundtable.

The Office of Service-Learning offers services to students, faculty, staff, and community partners. By engaging in service-learning, community service, and civic engagement experiences, it volunteers are challenged to reflect on and learn about different ways of life.

Through service-learning, students will experience real world opportunities and new experiences that can help them gain insight and a better understanding of the community.

Volunteering also gives students the opportunity to boost their chances of finding a job after graduation. According to Volunteer Web: Benefits of Volunteering (Oct. 2005), 73 percent of employers would recruit a candidate with volunteer experience over one without any volunteer experience.

The Office of Service-Learning connects students with volunteer opportunities through e-mail updates. Students can also stop by the office to learn more about volunteering. A Civic Action Leader can also help in selecting a placement .

For more information about the Office of Service-Learning visit its website, Facebook page, and Twitter account.