Lancaster – Students in Dr. Candice Thomas-Maddox's Introduction to Organizational Communication course spent more than 170 hours volunteering at area organizations during fall semester. Thomas Maddox assigned each student to complete a service learning project where they had to volunteer a minimum of six hours throughout the semester.
"Service learning projects have special meaning for our students at O.U. Lancaster because they have a vested interest in giving back to the communities in which they live and work," said Thomas-Maddox.
Students were required to complete a paper that analyzed communication in the organization by applying theories and concepts from the class. They were also required to create a product that the organization could use to enhance communication.
Students created a flag game to assist the VFW in educating elementary school children about the American flag, developed a radio announcement for Habitat for Humanity and designed a survey to assist Kindred Rehabilitation in assessing patient interest in crafts and activities.
Student Emily Anderson volunteered at Kids 'n Kamp. It's a non-profit organization that helps families who have a child with cancer. The organization was founded in 1982. Kids 'n Kamp has a special place in Anderson's heart because the organization helped her family through a crisis.
"The foundation personally helped my family through the toughest two years we have ever had to face," said Anderson."My oldest sister, Kate, was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 14. Unfortunately, Katie lost her long battle. Her journey of life ended on January 21, 1998.I was eight years old when she passed away."
Anderson and two of her classmates designed t-shirts for the Kids 'N Kamp annual holiday party and drafted a letter for the families served by the organization.
Student Melissa Weller volunteered at Indian Trail Elementary School in Canal Winchester. It's where her children go to school. She developed a parent guide to the new Standards-Based Report Card system adopted by the school.
"I just love being in that school. Everybody is so welcoming. They know you," said Weller. "I just couldn't ask for a better atmosphere to go into to volunteer with my kids. Everybody was willing to help me with this project. It's a great place to be."
Weller said Indian Trail recently got a new principal and assistant principal. She talked with school employees about communication during the change in leadership. Weller said she found the school really communicated well and worked together.
"I'm so proud of the effort that students put into these projects. At the end of the semester they have a comprehensive understanding of how to apply the theories and concepts to benefit organizations in our area," said Thomas-Maddox. "Perhaps what is most impressive is that several students are so passionate about these organizations that they continue to volunteer even after the class is over."