Page 6

2015_Summer_Magazine

Engaged Lifetime leadership begins at Linfield The most important hours of the week for Special Lovincey ’16 often involve walking and talking aimlessly. It’s Tuesday afternoon, and Lovincey is at the middle school with a 12-year-old friend. They laugh. They walk. They talk about music, lunch, school, friends. Everything and nothing. “She didn’t really like going to class at first and it was hard to talk with her because she was sort of standoffish,” recalls Lovincey. “By the end of the semester, she was proud to tell me she was turning in her homework and got her grades up. She was excited about high school, which she had been dreading.” Lovincey hears similar stories from the other 45 Linfield mentors in the WISE mentorship program that serves some 75 McMinnville eighth graders. A mass communication major, Lovincey was president of Students Advocating for Gender Equality (SAGE), and has mentored students since high school. Casey Thein ’15, co-coordinator of WISE, is equally involved – a biology major who will attend dental school at Oregon Health & Science University in the fall, a Colloquium peer advisor and member of the Biology Club. Lovincey and Thein are active, invested and engaged in the world. And they are not alone. Hundreds of Linfield College students are taking part in meaningful service learning projects – both on campus and in the community – that will change their futures and their communities. Engaged students, engaged citizens Linfield’s Office of Community Engagement and Service is a lively hub of activity. At any given time, half a dozen students sit at desks and tables in the open space, laughing and talking as they coordinate service projects via phone, email and social media. The office maintains partnerships with more than 100 community-based Natalie Nguyen ’18 helps install siding with guidance from Cliff Probasco ’69, Habitat for Humanity site supervisor, during Alternative Spring Break in March. Linfield organizes the annual spring break projects so that students have the opportunity to perform meaningful service in partnership with a nonprofit organization, learn about a specific social issue and develop strong civic leadership skills to learn the importance of being an active citizen. 6 - l i n f i e l d m a g a z i n e Summer 2015 organizations and sponsors numerous community service programs and events. In a very real sense, it is carrying out Linfield’s mission of “Connecting Learning, Life, and Community.” Director Joni (Claypool) Tonn ’06 is the face of community engagement at Linfield. Bubbly and approachable with a contagious laugh, she juggles the demands of the busy office with calm, organizing volunteers and heading up Change Corps, a dynamic student leadership program (see sidebar, page 11). She works with community partners and listens to their volunteer needs, then relays the information to Linfield students. “What do you care about?” she asks students, and then matches them to their passions. “It’s important to be engaged in what matters to you because that’s what will make a difference long term. Students will develop relationships and skills they wouldn’t have if the project is simply for a resume.” Tonn speaks from experience. As a Linfield student, she was a resident advisor, a member of the track team and volunteered in the Start Making A Reader Today program. But her real passion is helping people. “I love education and value community, that’s why I’m in this position,” said Tonn, who also coordinates First CLAS, a week-long service learning and leadership pre-orientation program for incoming first-year students. “The fact that I can share this with others in so many different ways is why I love this work.” Engaged students are more likely to become engaged citizens. College students with developed civic habits are critical to building a culture of citizenship, service and responsibility in America, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal service agency. Both educators and employers agree that personal and social responsibility should be core elements of a 21st century education for a thriving world. “We are educating students to step into their role as citizens of the world,” said Tonn. “No matter what their degree, they will


2015_Summer_Magazine
To see the actual publication please follow the link above