Westminster College’s How to Change the World class provides students with an opportunity to learn through service and volunteer work in the South Salt Lake community.
The class is taught by education professor Peter Ingle both Fall and Spring semesters. In the class, students must complete 20 hours of volunteering in the South Salt Lake community while investigating what it means to serve, and what it means to create change.
Ingle said that he has taught some version of the class for 18 years and that it was one of the first service-learning courses at Westminster.
How to Change the World is not the only class that gets students volunteering with the South Salt Lake Community, but students said they were drawn to this class because of the title.
“Looking at the title ‘How to Change the World’, how can I make a difference, how can I […] being just one person, how can I make a huge impact on something like the world?” said Kylie Harrison, a junior mathematics major. “And in all honesty, it comes down to: can I help just one person? You never know what a little bit of impact can do.”
Kylie Harrison said the course gave her valuable experience empowering and connecting with children.
“Once you get out and help the kids you see how much it can really help,” Harrison said. “So being able to help make a little bit of a difference and making a connection with some of these kids is really fun.”
Micka Enriquez also said she got a positive experience out of the class.
“Being able to go out into the community and volunteer is really important to me, so I really enjoyed that.” said Enriquez, a junior psychology major who took the class in Fall 2017. “I even continued to volunteer at Woodrow Wilson through Spring semester, even when it wasn’t required anymore.”
Both Enriquez and Harrison said that they took this class to fulfill a requirement, like Westminster’s Engaging the World requirement, but both ended up doing extra volunteer work.
Ingle said this is a common occurrence as many students realize that community involvement is important to building and sustaining a rewarding community.
“You can’t just live somewhere and assume that everybody else is going to do all the work and you don’t have to do any of it,” Ingle said. “So, I think that Westminster tends to attract students who do that.”
Ingle said he thinks volunteering is beneficial for students because it provides them with an opportunity to personally engage in community development, instead of just studying it.
He said students examine different models of community development and not only learn to critique it from a variety of perspectives, but also see how it applies South Salt Lake and the work being done in the community.
Enriquez said that learned changing the world is not easy, but everyone can do their part “by being an activist for a certain issue like for women’s rights or environmental rights, […] and […] working to try to make that better.”
Enriquez said knowing about community challenges is the first place to start.
“Just being more mindful and aware of the issues that are going on in our community, and educating people on them and how they can help as well,” Enriquez said.