by: Justin Mattix
Civic Engagement Day is an opportunity for all of Bluffton University students to engage in a wide range of issues. The day is filled with many sessions that encompass one theme. This year’s theme: Education.
Many speakers gathered around the idea of speaking about something that they are very passionate about. During a session held in the Kreider room, four students and a recent graduate from Bluffton University gathered to speak about learning that doesn’t take place within the classroom. They titled their discussion, “Learning without a Syllabus”.
The participants who led this discussion talked about many experiences they have had. Their focus was to promote internship opportunities. These students have experience more by doing, rather than by learning in the classroom.
Becca Lapp, a Spanish and TESOL major, describes learning outside of the classroom as an “opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture of learning”. She goes on to explain that when students immerse themselves in a learning community outside of the classroom, they expand on horizons that only deepen relationships and the ability to experience problems that will never occur in a restricted classroom. Becca has experienced many of these difficulties in her own experiences in other countries such as: Honduras, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, as well as Guatemala.
Experiences trump all learning through worksheets. Emotional stimulation isn’t something that can be simulated in the classroom. Rachel Keske, a Math Education major, describes that serving in college is an opportunity that should be experienced by all students on campus. “They must broaden their views on surrounding environments while they have the chance”, she said.
Eric Wilfer, a recent graduate of Bluffton University, backed Rachel up on her claims. He promotes learning by doing as one of the best suitable techniques for all those attempting to learn something new. Internships for him, propelled him towards getting a job straight out of college as a sales representative at Fastenal.
One last leading determiner for learning is passion. According to Appiah Adubafour, “passion equates learning”. When one attempts to learn, they must pursue it with all out desire for growth. He also urges students, as well as any other students of life to find mentors to walk along with for a communal learning experience. Mentors offer encouragement when things aren’t looking fruitful.
Griffin Kuras, a student and attendee of the discussion, left the session inspired. “A lot of the things that we heard seem to promote opportunities for deeper, stimulating learning.” He has already accepted an internship opportunity for the summer.
Daniel Piero, a Math and Physics double major, describes similar uses of mentors. He urges all students to find a professor on campus to help them in their learning. “Professors know a lot- they also know a lot about opportunities for worthy students.” This is an important aspect for Daniel Piero’s success. One of his mentors, Steve Harnish, presented him an opportunity to becoming an intern at Blue Waters working with the concept of Parallel Computing. His passion and pride for learning has pushed him to succeed in fields of Physics.
He ended the discussion with a powerful message to life-long learners. “Everyone can learn a lot, but it takes a special person to be interested in one topic.”